Sunday, August 31, 2014

August 31, 2014 … Testimony of Love

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 243

Devotional Song: Go to this link -  … Please take the time to see a video of Scott Underwood singing his poignant tribute to sacrificial love, This Is Love, reminding all Christians of the ultimate witness of life, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, and why this is the reason our lives should be witnesses of living sacrifice; … and THEN ON THIS LINK -  - where we hear Avalon singing Testify To Love, proclaiming how our lives, lived for Christ, should be a testimony to God’s love.
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Highlight Passage: 1st John 3: 16 … [NKJV] … Interesting how in John’s first letter - chapter 3, verse 16 … he writes essentially the same message as in John 3: 16
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: 1st John 3: 16-23 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK   
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Reference Passage #1: John 3: 16 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK Of course, what other verse would point to God’s love any better …

Reference Passage #2: John 13: 34-35 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Others know we really have the love of God in our hearts when we’re willing to share our lives with others - sacrificially !!

Reference Passage #3: Acts 1: 8 … [NKJV] … Our way of witnessing to God’s love is to share it with others …
 8 " ... But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 

Reference Passage #4: Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK Read of God’s declaration of God’s love being our witness of becoming a “living sacrifice” …

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Jennifer Benson Schuldt, wrote about God’s love being on display in this world so very dramatically when someone is willing to give their lives in total self-sacrifice for someone else, perhaps jumping into a raging river, saving someone, but drowning in the process. Or we read if the incredible stories of Medal of Honor winners who died by jumping on a grenade to save their compatriots in battle.

And all of these can certainly be incredible witnesses to God’s love being shared by someone dying to save another. God’s witness to us - His ultimate witness of sacrificial love - was certainly that of dying on the cross that we would have life eternal; and that was the message of both of the Apostle John’s “3: 16” messages (see John 3: 16 and 1st John 3: 16). And in both of these passages, God’s love is witnessed to all believers in His ultimate act of sacrifice on the cross of His death as the Lamb of God to give us access to eternal life.

But in today’s ODB devotional, I couldn’t help but be reminded that we don’t have to die to be a witness to God’s love. … NO, … we can live and, as Paul, proclaims in Romans 12: 1-2 [linked above], we can be - and should be - a witness of “living sacrifice” to others. That’s what Jesus was teaching about … our witness of love in John 13: 34-35, where He proclaimed that the world would only know His love if Christians were willing to share His love by our love being extended - first to other Christians - and then to any and all who need it.


And that’s why I’m sharing a photo of how I see God’s love, being witnessed to me, sacrificially, EVERY DAY, by the one in this photo who doesn’t look like me. I’m the recipient of God’s “living sacrifice,” His witness of love, every day. I see the love of God on display as my “Elly B” so willingly shares it with me; and I pray that. in some way - every day - I share His love with her. 

Enough said … at least from me …

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to share Your love with my dear one first and then to anyone You show me who needs my living sacrifice of love and witness today. … Amen

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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 30, 2014 … “Just Do It!!”

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 242

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a video of the group 4Him singing The Basics of Life, repeated from yesterday’s blog entry and once again reminding us that when we know what’s right, … i.e., God’s will for our lives, … our only response must be to “JUST DO IT!” … And then GO TO THIS LINK to hear what what we should avoid in hearing Frank Sinatra’s classic anthem of selfish living, My Way!
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Highlight Passage: 2nd Chronicles 15: 8a … [NKJV] …
8a ... King Asa heard God’s will from the Prophet and he took action immediately … 8 And when Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin … 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: 2nd Chronicles 15: 1-15 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK King Asa knew what was right; and he just did it! …
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Reference Passage #1: Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK …You probably know this one “by heart;” … well, if so, why don’t we JUST DO IT!!…

Reference Passage #2: Matthew 28: 19-20 … [NKJV] … Jesus’ last TOS with His disciples - His Great Commission …
 19 Go therefore[a] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 

Reference Passage #3: Luke 9: 23 … [NKJV] … Jesus summarizing His “TOS” - on discipleship …
  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. ,,, "

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dave Branon, called my attention to the wildly successful marketing slogan adopted by the Nike corporation in 1988, which, according to Wikipedia, resulted in Nike moving from 18% of the sports shoe market [i.e., 877 Million] to 43% [i.e., 9.2 Billion]. And the slogan, along with Nike’s “swoosh” logo are still being used today because of their corporate message to many of the “couch potatoes” of our day. … We know that we need to be exercising to promote good health; … but what we need to do is to JUST DO IT!

This was the message of today’s OBD highlight message from the historical book of 2nd Chronicle, Chapter 15 [linked above], relating the story of King Asa, who got God’s message from God’s Prophet to reform all the pagan practices of God’s people and to take them back to God’s way of life; … and Asa did just that!!

Today I’ve linked and repeated the song which I used in my blog from yesterday, ”Back To The Basics,” as well as a few of the reference verses I posted yesterday as well; because they hammer home the truth of God’s desire that we simply JUST DO IT!! when it comes to living in the center of God’s will. So often we, as Christians, know what is right, don’t we? But what is necessary? Well, one thing to avoid is what is proclaimed by Frank Sinatra in his classic song, that we do life “MY WAY!”

No, what is necessary is that we, know God’s way, … that we JUST DO IT!!

 My Prayer for Today … Lord, today help me to resist doing life MY WAY and stay with the basics … YOUR WAY! … 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, August 29, 2014

August 29, 2014 … Jesus’ TOS

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 241

Devotional Song: Go to this link -  … Please take the time to see a video of the group 4Him singing The Basics of Life, reminding Christians that we need to get back to the terms of Jesus’ New Covenant agreement with mankind
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Click on graphic to read text - then click on "X" or return arrow 

Highlight Passage: Luke 6: 37-38 … [NKJV] … Jesus teaching some of His basics - or his “terms of service” about kingdom values …
  37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Luke 6: 17-49 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK … Jesus’ second great sermon where he spells out His “terms of service” - i.e., His New Covenant values …
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Reference Passage #1: Matthew, Chapter 5-7 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK Jesus lays out His covenant values in the Sermon on the Mount…

Reference Passage #2: Matthew 28: 19-20 … [NKJV] … … Jesus’ last TOS with His disciples - His Great Commission …
  19 " ... Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Reference Passage #3: Luke 9: 23 … [NKJV] … … Jesus summarizing His “TOS” - on discipleship …
  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. ... "

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Julie Ackerman Link, used an interesting, modern-day, word picture to describe how Jesus was trying, with His New Covenant values, to get across God’s “terms of service” to His disciples.

Check out the attached photo; and any of you computer geeks reading here will immediately recognize a “terms of service” [TOS] agreement, which we have to establish online when we’re installing new software or buying something via computer. And sometimes these TOS agreements can be pages long with a lot of small-print legalese, which we don’t want to read. So, we rapidly scroll down to the “[ ] I agree” box and click on it to proceed with our installment or purchase. But we bypassed all the important details which establishes our agreement with the entity we’re dealing with about the transaction.

Jesus had quite a few “TOS” agreements which He tried to get across to His disciples; and I’ve laid out a few in the highlight and reference scripture texts above. The longest of these was in our Lord’s famous “Sermon on the Mount,” where Jesus laid out His “TOS” on God’s Kingdom values to those who were following Him. But unfortunately those folks, like us with a computer TOS, just didn’t get it from all the details in His long teachings [i.e., Jesus’ TOS].

The highlight Bible passage today was another sermon, which Luke recorded in His gospel, …very much like the Sermon on the Mount (some think it was Luke’s account of the latter); but in this account of Jesus’ teaching - I believe in another setting - He also laid out His terms of service, which the people very likely had trouble either believing or applying to their lives.

And then, of course, there was our Lord’s last major “TOS” on this earth as He was taken back into heaven after the resurrection, … when He laid out His “Great Commission,” charging His disciples to go out a make more disciples. And that is the charge of the song I chose to link readers toward today, which spells out the charge that we “get back to the basics” of life, which, for Christians, are those “TOS” agreements which Jesus tried to lay out in the passages to which I’ve linked or copied for you readers here today.

So, take in Jesus’ TOS agreement; … and then, if you can check the “[ ] I agree” box, on what Jesus taught, … well, we’ll see you in heaven per Christ’s agreement.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to get back to Your basics, .. i.e., Your TOS with me; and let me honor those values in my living 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, August 28, 2014

August 28, 2014 … Washing Some Feet Today

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 240

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a clip of Bill Gaither’s chorus in the Holy Land, singing the classic old hymn, My Faith Looks Up To Thee, which points us toward the humility we must capture to be wholly God’s disciples. … And THEN TO THIS LINK to see a brief depiction of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples, modeling the humility we need to live out in our lives as He instructed His disciples in the upper room.
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Highlight Passage: Philippians 2: 5, … 8 … [NKJV] … Being like Jesus!!  …
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus … 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.
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Philippians 2: 5-11 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: John 13: 1-16 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK … Jesus humbles Himself to wash the feet of His disciples …  

Reference Passage #2: Matthew 11: 29 … [NKJV] …  Jesus describes Himself as “gentle” (i.e., meek) and “lowly in heart” (i.e., humble), which is the only self description of character in the NT where Jesus describes Himself …
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

Reference Passage #3: 1st Peter 5: 5-7 … [NKJV] … … Peter preaches what he learned from Jesus about humility …
5 Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” [Quoting Prov. 3: 34] … 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Bill Crowder, took me back to on of the most poignant lessons that Jesus ever taught His disciples; and that was the powerful foot washing scene in the upper room just before Jesus was to humble Himself completely, going to the Cross for mankind.

And Jesus in that foot washing scenario, if you go to the link above with a brief video reenactment of that scene, Jesus told His disciples [found in John 13: 1-16] that one day eleven of these twelve would understand His example and they would live out that model of humility as they served others and witnessed their Savior’s love to the world. And in this brief lesson, we see the essence of what our attitude, as Christ’s disciples, should be in fulfillment of that which Paul wrote to his friends in Philippi [see Phil. 2: 5-11 linked above].

My friends, as it says in Phil. 2: 5, we are to have the same attitude and character traits as that of our Lord. And what were these? Well, the best place to find the character description of the attitude we should emulate in Christ is to look to His own self-description; and that can be found in only way verse in the NT, … that of Matthew 11: 29, copied above. And Jesus called Himself, in the Greek, “praos” or gentle/meek … and “tapienos” or humble. And if that’s the way Jesus described Himself, if we’re to become like Him, then trying to live out the character traits of gentleness and humility is a good place to start.

So, as Jesus taught His disciples with the object lesson of washing their feet, … are we being like Jesus in our lives? Out there in the world, are we doing all we can to be like Jesus, and humbly serving others in some way? … Are we being humble and meek just as Jesus described Himself?

I don’t know about you; but I could do better in my life, trying to be more like Jesus describe Himself. So, my friends, … today I need to go out and wash some feet?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, let me wash some feet today just as You have washed mine every day of my life since I came to know You as Lord. … Amen

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

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 27, 2014 … Life’s Darkest Moments

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 239

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a short clip of Billy Crystal’s tribute to Robin Williams … and then GO TO THIS VIDEO -  of Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly singing the poignant song Beauty For Ashes, which reminds us how God can take life’s darkest moments and turn them into beauty for His glory
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Highlight Passage: 1st Kings 19: 4-5… [NKJV] … About Elijah’s lowest moment …
4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” 5 Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 
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Highlight Context #1 - NKJV: 1st Kings 19: 1-8 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: Psalm 23 … [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK ...  The Lord is our GOOD SHEPHERD, even in moments of deep despair …  

Reference Passage #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 make your paths straight. 

Reference Passage #3: Matthew 11: 28-30 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Randy Kilgore, took me back to the lowest moment in the life of Israel’s greatest prophet, Elijah. Remember, … he was the one who prayed down rain and fire and defeated the sorcerers under King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, who then came after Elijah. And in today’s highlight passage, we read of God’s great and mighty Prophet, Elijah, reduced, in despair, to praying for God to take his life [see 1st Kings 19: 4]. 

Recently, in moment of despair and apparent depression, one of the world’s great funny men, Robin Williams (see photo and link to a brief segment from a tribute to him at the Emmy Awards) took his own life. And many were left to wonder how a man, who could create so much happiness, could/would feel so down that he would take his own life. So, why didn’t Elijah, in his lowest moment do the same, and that is, to end his own life? And the answer to that is also found in today’s highlight verse, where’ll you’ll note that Elijah didn’t take it upon himself to end his own life. No, Elijah, as opposed to Williams, put his life, as low as it was, into the hands of His Lord.

Elijah had a strong enough faith relationship with His God to believe in the truth of Psalm 23 and Proverbs 3: 5-6 - referenced above. He was as low as one could get; but Elijah knew to put his lower-than-low life into the hands of God, trusting that God would do the right thing for/with him; and we know from the rest of today’s highlight passage, … God did just that!

But apparently Robin Williams didn’t have the ability to trust in a God Who restores and renews in the face of our lowest moments. We don’t know if Robin Williams was a believer in Christ. Only God can know that; but his faith was certainly not strong enough to give His life over to His God, as did Elijah.

You know, fellow Christian, reading here. We’re going to have those WAY LOW moments in our life; … moments like others in the Bible had … men like Jonah, Moses, Job, and others had; … moments so low that, like these men and Elijah, we might pray for God to take our lives. But as Christians, we need to remember the promises from our Lord to be our Good Shepherd (see Psalm 23) … or from our Savior, Jesus, Who promises to always be there in those oppressive moments and to let us use His yoke to help us in our times of troubles (see Matthew 11: 28-30).

The question becomes, if/when we face moments like the one Robin Williams or Elijah faced, do we believe God’s promises; and are we willing to put our lives TOTALLY in God’s hands. Because if we are, He will ultimately lift us up and Shepherd us from “the valley or the shadow of death” into His garden of peace and joy. I will pray that we will trust our Lord to be our Good Shepherd.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, take any reading here from the low valleys of despair to Your high place of peace and refuge. … 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, August 26, 2014

August 26, 2014 … God’s “GPS”

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 238

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a lyrical video of Amy Grant and her friend and former tour pianist and now Contemporary Christian song-writer and star, Michael W Smith singing … Thy Word Is A Lamp Unto My Feet, which is the declaration of the Psalm 119, the Psalmist who knew that God’s Word was our God-given “GPS” in life.
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Highlight Passage: Psalm 119: 105 … [NKJV] …
105  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
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Highlight Context #1 - NKJV: Psalm 119: 97-106 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: Psalm 1… [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK ... Blessed is the man who meditates in God’s word day and night …  

Reference Passage #2: Luke 9: 23 … [NKJV] …
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. … “ 

Reference Passage #3: 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.” 

Reference Passage #4: 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17… [NKJV] … … Paul’s exhortation of truth about the power of God’s word to mark our path through life …
  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: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David McCasland, who used the following illustration to make a point about Bible meditation …

"Dave Sobel’s award-winning book Longitude describes a dilemma faced by early sailors. They could readily determine their latitude north or south of the equator by the length of the day or height of the sun. Calculating east/west longitude, however, remained complex and unreliable until English clockmaker John Harrison invented the marine chronometer. This was “a clock that would carry the true time from the home port . . . to any remote corner of the world,” thus enabling sailors to determine longitude. " 

McCasland’s point is that we humans, trying to navigate this voyage through life, need a mechanism to help us reliably find our way. In today’s world, we’re a lot better off in navigation than were the ancient mariners; … we have “GPS” devices which can help us find our way down the highways of life quite accurately. But we Christians have THE BEST life navigation system, The Bible, which the author of Psalm 119 in the highlight passage above called, and today’s song with Amy Grant singing about, God’s word’s being … “ a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

The question becomes, … Do we believe the Psalmists in Psalm 1 and Psalm 119, who were directing God’s people to MEDITATE on God’s word “day and night” so as to navigate through the murky and difficult pathways of life?”

These writers had discovered, and were sharing the same truth that Jesus was later trying to get across to His disciples, … that we must follow HIM and His commandments (see Luke 9: 23 and John 14: 21 above) to make it in life. And God has given us His word as His best “GPS” to navigate our way through the morass of fog we call life. That’s what the Apostle Paul was trying to get across to his protégé, Timothy (and to us as well), in 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17, copied above.

The Hebrew word, used by the Psalmists, to describe “meditating” is “habah.” which according to today’s ODB devotional means “to reflect deeply” … or even better … “to be preoccupied with.” And that is what the Psalmist who so loved God’s word [see Psalm 119 linked above] was trying to convey; … that we who desire to make our way through life, which can be so directionally challenging, are to stay focused on God’s truth, His way, and His will, through His word. That’s how God wants to be our direction finder.

I’ll leave it to you to decide whether God’s word is your “GPS” in life. I think you know, by my presence here EVERY MORNING, diving deeply into God’s truth, that I do.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, show me Your way clearly from Your word. … Amen

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

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014 … Waiting and Witnessing

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 237

Devotional Song: Go to this link -  take the time to see a lyrical video of a group leading in worship and singing … I Have Decided To Follow Jesus, helping any who sing along to make a commitment to be a true disciple of Christ
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Highlight Passage: Acts 1: 7-8 … [NKJV] …
7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[a] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
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Highlight Context #1 - NKJV: Acts 1: 1-11 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: Matthew 29: 18-20… [NKJV] …  GO TO THIS LINK … It’s the “Great Commission,” where Jesus has charged all of His followers to “GO” and make disciples of any/all who would choose to follow Him  …

Reference Passage #2: Luke 9: 23 … [NKJV] …
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. … “ 

Reference Passage #3: John 16: 16 … [NKJV] …
16 “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.” 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Anne Cetas, helped me remember what Jesus has commanded of me as His disciple. When our Lord left this earth to return to His Father in Heaven and to sit with Him and for Him on the Great Throne of Grace and Judgement again, He commanded His disciples to WAIT and to WITNESS.

Perhaps you have the highlight and references passages committed to memory, the ones above which I have cited in this blog entry. In the highlight passage, Jesus was called up to Heaven; but before He did, He charged His disciples then (and by extension, to all Christians) to wait for His promised return; and, in the meantime, to be His witnesses in this world. We especially read of that challenge from the Lord in Acts 1: 8 and Matthew 28: 19-20. And those who were there to witness Christ’s ascension to Heaven and to hear His charge for them to wait and witness, had the choice to do as the Lord said, being a faithful follower and disciple of Christ, or to become, as the attached photo indicts, muffled or muted witnesses for Jesus.

I’ll not go on with this today; because Jesus said it all about what we are to be as His disciples, didn’t He? He charged any/all who would follow Him to wait for His return; and in the meantime, to go and shine His light as a witness in His Name … to make disciples of any/all who would choose to deny themselves and to follow Him.

All I must do here (for myself and for you) is to ask … “Are we waiting for Him faithfully; and are we being His faithful witnesses … day by day by day … EVERY DAY?”   Or am I, as is pictured in the photo, a muted follower in these dark and evil days.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help any who read here, as well as this humbled servant, to be faithful in waiting and loud as witnesses for Your Name. … 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, August 24, 2014

August 24, 2014 … Our Altar of Remembrance

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 236

Devotional Song: Go to this link -  take the time to see a lyrical video of Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing the poignant song of remembrance … Great Great God, which helps us remember the Lord, and our Savior, who has save us from our selves.
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Highlight Passage: Psalm 118: 1 and the last verse - 29 … [NKJV] …
1 and 29 … Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

For His mercy endures forever. 
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Highlight Context #1 - NKJV: Psalms 113-114 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Highlight Context #2 - NKJV: Psalms 115-118 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK ============

Reference Passage #1: Joshua 22: 28-29… [NKJV] …  GO TO THIS LINK… Over 350 times in the Old Testament, as in this passage in the book of Joshua, God’s people built altars to honor and remember what God had done for them …

Reference Passage #2: 1st Corinthians: 11: 17-33 … [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK … The Apostle Paul helping the Church establish The Lord’s Supper - The Eucharist - as the New Testament’s Church altar of Remembrance

Reference Passage #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. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dennis Fisher, helped me remember what I try to remember EVERY DAY by coming to a quiet place and worshipping my Lord and Savior with a special “altar” of time which helps me start each day by some remembrance of what My Savior has done for me by pursuing me and saving me from my sinfulness and giving me the grace to handle every day. In my own selfishness, I’m afraid I’d have the tendency to forget what He has done to transform my life, especially if I didn’t have my own “altar of remembrance.” 

If you do a little study of the Old Testament, as I did this morning, you’ll find that God’s people, though they could be so forgetful and selfish at times, built altars to remember their God over 350 times … from Abraham and Moses and onward in the trek of the Israelites to the Promised Land. And really the whole establishment of the various feasts and even the ceremony of the weekly Shabbat (the Sabbath) are “altars of remembrance” so that God’s people will never forget what God has done for them.

Unfortunately, over time, many of God’s people, including those of us in the remnant of New Testament believers, have a tendency, in our human selfishness, to forget God’s faithfulness. And much of our world today even wants to eradicate any thoughtfulness of our Lord and Savior from our culture, trying to tear down any/all remembrances of GOD from our world.

The Apostle Paul in helping the Church in Corinth (and for all of the New Testament Church), specifically wrote (see 1st Cor. 11: 17-33 linked above) about how Christians should have a time of coming to “the table” which Jesus established in that Upper Room time with His disciples. And Jesus established what Christians now celebrate as the Eucharist or Communion celebration as a time when we should commemorate what He, our Lord, did on the Cross, giving His body and blood as the Lamb of God, for the remission of our sins.

The question becomes, “Do we have personal, even daily, altars of remembrance in our lives, where we can focus clearly and with purpose on becoming the “living sacrifice” which Paul also wrote about in Romans 12: 1-2. “ Because, and this is my strong belief, … if we don’t have such daily altars of remembrance, I’m afraid we, like God’s people in the Old Testament, will wander away from God’s purpose for our lives; and most certainly there is a lot of evidence of that wandering away from God in our world today.

Now, please don’t take what I’m about to write as a way of bragging as to my own discipline or devotion; but long ago I discovered that I, personally, needed my own way of having a personal “altar of remembrance” in my life. And a dear mentor in my life helped me establish a daily discipline of devotion, where I delved deeply into God’s word and used that time, in solitude and prayer with God, as a spring board to #1 remember what my Lord has done in transforming my life, and #2 to make daily commitments of purpose to be a “living sacrifice” as Rom. 12: 1-2 exhorts. And One can see from this very blog [see listings of past blogs in the column to the right] where this has led this one humble servant with my daily journaling of these “altars of remembrance” since 2008.

I do this study and journaling … EVERY DAY … because I don’t want to forget what my Lord has done for me with His transforming grace. I don’t want to let my own deceitful heart [see Jer. 17: 9] lead me astray into forgetfulness and sinfulness. And I don’t want to stray from the witness of faith which my Lord calls me toward (see Luke 9: 23 and Acts 1: 8 and Matthew 28: 19-20).

I don’t know where and how you have established and maintained an “altar of remembrance and purpose” for your life. But I do pray that you have some way of DAILY remembering what our Lord has done to save us from our selves and to give us a remembrance of His Spirit working in our lives - through His grace - to be able to walk with Him and serve Him.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help any who read here, as well as this forgetful servant, to have some purposeful and personal altar of remembrance in our lives so that we’ll never forget what You have done for us, … saving us, and sanctifying us unto Your purposes for the way we live. … Amen

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

Saturday, August 23, 2014

August 23, 2014 … Being Salt & Light

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 235

Devotional Song: Go to this link - PLEASE take the time to see a lyrical video of Chris Rice singing the poignant song … Go Light Your Wolrd, which encourages all Christians to live out the heavenly reality of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount … to shine the Light of Christ into this very dark world.
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Highlight Passage: 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. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Matthew 5: 11-16 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: 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,[a] and follow Me. .. “ 

Reference Passage #2: Romans 12: 19 … [NKJV] …
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” [Deut. 32:35] says the Lord. 

Reference Passage #3: 1st Peter 2: 11-12… [NKJV] …
11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Joe Stowell, related an incident from a popular book which has become a blockbuster film. He wrote …

  "In J. R. R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit, the wizard Gandalf explains why he has selected a small hobbit like Bilbo to accompany the dwarves to fight the enemy. He says, ‘Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.’ " 

What Stowell is trying to emphasize by Tolkien’s Wizard is the same sentiment which Jesus was teaching in His Sermon on the Mount, trying to get His followers to see that we should be living now as all true believers will live in heaven. And Jesus used the word pictures of Christians becoming salt and light [see attached photo] in a very unsalted and very darkened world (even more so now). And if you read the entire context of Matthew 5: 11-16, Jesus was commanding that His followers, now only do what he had commanded in Luke 9: 23 (referenced above); but also to do what is almost humanly impossible when we’re confronted by a world which wants to kill us. Jesus was teaching that we should love our enemies; and pray for them.

Just this past week, a group of Islamic terrorists, who’ve declared war against America and Judeo-Christian values, committed a public beheading of an American photojournalist, James Foley; and then they posted the beheading online. How does a Christian deal with that incident and reality in light of Jesus’ teaching and commands from the Sermon on the Mount as well as the teachings of Paul and Peter, referenced above?

Personally, in in my humanness, I wanted those "SOBs" who killed James Foley to be crushed by the airstrikes which had been ordered by our President in response to the terror being led by the ISIS group of terrorists in the MidEast recently. I wanted for America to take revenge for the senseless beheading of James Foley; … BUT … that’s not what Jesus wants from me in response to such acts of persecution. He wants me to go out in the world and repay such senseless acts of darkness by shining His light of kindness and love.

Jesus wants me to refrain from desiring vengeance; and, as Paul taught in Romans 12: 19, which was a replay of God’s commands in Deut. 32: 35, my Lord desires that I leave all vengeance to Him. And Jesus commanded His followers [yeah, that’s ME] to go out and shine His light of love into this dark world by my works of righteousness or kindness, … especially in the context of any persecution I experience from the world.

Can I do that? … I pray I (we) can!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to leave all vengeance to You … and for me, today, to go out and shine Your light of love in some 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.

Friday, August 22, 2014

August 22, 2014 … Living God’s Love

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 234

Devotional Song: Go to this link -  Please take the time to see a lyrical video of Fernando Ortega singing the classic hymn… More Love To Thee, which is a prayer and plea to God for Him to impart more of His love through us as His followers in the way HE would want us to live.
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Highlight Passage: Psalm 112: 4-5 … [NKJV] …
4  Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness. He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. 5  A good man deals graciously and lends. He will guide his affairs with discretion. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Psalms 111 and 112 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1 - NKJV: Galatians 5: 22-23 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Paul witnesses to the fruit of the Spirit, planted in all born-again believers, giving us the enabling grace to witness God’s love to others …

Reference Passage #2 - NKJV: Galatians 6: 9-10 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Paul pleads with Christians to be steadfast in their faith, doing good in spite of the trials of this world …

Reference Passage #3: Hebrews 12: 3… [NKJV] … 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 

Reference Passage #4 - NKJV: Revelation 2: 1-4 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Jesus, speaking to His church (in Ephesus - but to all believers - recognized their diligence in doing good; but warned them not to lose their first love …

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dave Branon, hit me right in the heart with conviction as he wrote about God’s desire that we hold dearly to the love that our Lord has given to all believers so that we, as His body, the Church, in this world, can witness that love, through the fruit of the Spirit to others. Branon actually used two of the Psalms (see Psalms 111-112 linked above) to show how God is a God of love (Ps. 111) and a God who imparts His power to allow His believers (Ps. 112) to witness that love in the world.

And we, who declare Christ as our Lord and Savior, must know the truth … that God has imparted to all of us His fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5: 22-23) so that we can have the grace, should we surrender to it, to reach out and share these fruit with others, especially those of faith.

Paul expressed this to the Church repetitively and forcefully, doing all he could, inspired by God’s Spirit, to not exhort believers to refuse to grow weary in doing good, in spite of the challenges from the world (see Gal. 6: 9-10). And he was reinforced by the author of Hebrews (see Hebrews 12: 3) and no less than Jesus, Himself, as they exhorted the Church, for example in Revelation 2: 1-4, to continue on in their diligence to witness to God’s love but to avoid losing their ties to our “first love,” Who, of course, is Jesus.

And the latter warning is what we should take away from this ODB devotional today; … that we not allow our (Jeremiah 17: 9) hearts to wane in weariness from the trials of the world or the temptations of Satan, refraining from sharing the love of God with others.

No! … We Christians simply must not pull back from diligently witnessing the love of God to the world. So much of the New Testament, from Jesus through His Disciples, especially post-resurrection, after they were left with the love of God imparted to them through God’s Spirit, is God, through His word, exhorting Christians onward and upward to do good and to shine the Love of God into an ever darkening world.

I don't know about you; but I need to take this to heart; and not grow weary in doing good … today … and tomorrow.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me, as I witnessed yesterday in this place to “keep on keeping on” in my faith and to go deeper with your love in me so that I can supernaturally witness Your love in my life to others. … Amen

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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 21, 2014 … “<‘KOKO><“

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 233

Devotional Song: Go to this link - Please take the time to see a lyrical video of Curtis Mayfield singing his soulful song from 1972 … Keep On Keepin On, which was Mayfield’s plea for mankind to keep seeking love to supplant the times of war which was being experienced in those days. … And then YOU CAN GO TO THIS LINK  and hear a song I often have linked for my journaling, with Steve Green singing Find Us Faithful, where there is another plea for Christians to overcome discouragement by living out their faith in Christ
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Highlight Passage: Hebrews 10: 35-36 … [NKJV] …
35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: … 
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Highlight [Context] - NKJV: Hebrews 10: 19-39 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1 - NKJV: Hebrews 10: 32-34 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  The Author reminds his Jewish Christian readers of their faithfulness in the face of many trials …

Reference Passage #2 - NKJV: Hebrews, Chapter 11 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  And here we have the great “Hall of Faith” chapter, where the author reminds Christians of those of faith who have gone before …

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David McCasland took me back to the Letter in the Book of Hebrews, written by an unnamed author, who was writing to a group of persecuted Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, likely about 60-65 AD. These converted Christian Jews were being pulled into false teachings by many different faith groups; and the author of Hebrews was writing to help these Christians to remain true to Christ in their faith - the authentic faith of the true Gospel message.

In today’s world, it’s all too easy to get tugged and pulled away from Christ with so many false versions of “the gospel” being taught, where Satan is trying to confuse and discourage Christians from the true walk of faith which is espoused and taught in the Bible - both Old and New Testaments.

There are Mormons who teach a type of revised and so-claimed “christian’ belief, brought about by their “latter-day” prophet, Joseph Smith. There is the centuries-old false religion of Islam, especially with it’s radical element, which has captivated much of the world and is doing all it can to irradiate Judeo-Christian believers. There are many, modern gurus of faith, like Oprah Winfrey, who teach multi-faith approaches to dealing with life, but cannot abide Orthodox Christianity, which teaches that Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven. And finally there are many, modern-day, so-called “prophets” or teachers, calling themselves “christian,” who espouse heretical “word of faith” teachings which draw attention away from THE TRUTH of orthodox Gospel reality.

It can be so difficult to seek and find THE TRUTH in this milieu of untruth and confusing, man-made doctrines of faith. That’s why I came up with a signature encouragement when I write to real Christians who might be confused about their faith. As the Author of the Book of Hebrews was trying to do, my signature is " <'KOKO>< " … which means “Keep On Keeping On in Christ!” 

It’s my way of encouraging my fellow believers in Christ to continue to pursue a deeper, more abiding relationship with our Savior and Lord, Jesus. And in this signature, I’m also trying to exhort fellow believers to stay true to the REAL Christian faith, which is found by a clear and Spirit-led interpretation of God’s word.

So, as you read this today, ask yourself: … “Am I faithfully doing all it takes to know our Lord more through His word EVERYDAY … and am I going deeper in my relationship with Christ … EVERYDAY? … And if we can truly say “YES” to these questions, … I say …

" <'KOKO>< "  

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to stay true and go deeper to know You today … and even more so tomorrow. … 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, August 20, 2014

August 20, 2014 … Christ, Our Foundation

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 232

Devotional Song: Go to this link ...  and take the time to see a lyrical video of the group Hillsong singing their contemporary Christian hit … Cornerstone, proclaiming the reality of our hope in this life and our hope for the next is built on the foundation of our “Cornerstone,” Jesus Christ. 
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Highlight Passage: 1st Corinthians 3: 11 … [NKJV] …
11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: 1st Corinthians 3: 1-16 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1 - NKJV: Psalms 118: 22-23 [NKJV] …  God’s prophesy, through Isaiah, of the Messiah as THE cornerstone of His eternal temple …
  22  The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. 23  This was the Lord’s doing. It is marvelous in our eyes. 

Reference Passage #2 - NKJV: Isaiah 28: 16 [NKJV] …  This passage was quoted by all of the synoptic Gospel authors…
  16 Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation. Whoever believes will not act hastily. 

Reference Passage #3 - NKJV: Matthew 7: 24-28 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Jesus teaching on Himself as the foundation for the church …

Reference Passage #4 - NKJV: Ephesians 2: 19-22 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Paul also declared Christ as the “cornerstone” of a building church …

Reference Passage #5 - NKJV: 1st Peter 2: 6-7 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK … And Peter preached boldly in Acts 4 and in his first epistle about Christ as the foundation of the church, also quoting from Isaiah 28 and Psalm 118, linked above …

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dennis Fisher, opened with an illustrative story …

"The Bavarian city of Nördlingen is unique. It sits in the middle of the Ries Crater, a large circular depression caused by the impact of a huge meteorite a long time ago. The immense pressure of the impact resulted in unusual crystallized rock and millions of microscopic diamonds. In the 13th century, these speckled stones were used to build St. George’s Church. Visitors can see the beautiful crystal deposits in its foundation and walls. Some might say it has a heavenly foundation." 

The story illustrates how the stone used to build the foundation of any structure is crucial to it’s stability and use as a functional structure. And any architect or builder would certainly agree with that premise. And this is why CHRIST, in both the Old and New Testaments, as well as from declarations from even Jesus about Himself (see above), is declared as the One from heaven, i.e., the Messiah, Who came to earth to become “the Cornerstone” for the building of His own Temple, as we can read in today’s ODB highlight passage from the Apostle Paul, … especially in 1st Corinthians, Chapter 3. verses 11 and 16.

The question becomes, from my devotional thoughts today, … ARE WE THE BUILDING BLOCKS FOR CHRIST’S TEMPLE WITH HIM AS OUR CORNERSTONE? … And we can only be such building blocks if we’re building our lives with our Lord as our foundation. I’ll be dealing that that self-analysis today. … How about you?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to be a solid building block to your being my “Cornerstone” in building Your Temple, … the Church. … 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, August 19, 2014

August 19, 2014 … Follow the Master

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 231

Devotional Song: Go to this link -  and take the time to see a lyrical video of one of Steve Green’s best versions of the stirring song of discipleship … Find Us Faithful, proclaiming our pursuit of a living relationship with Christ as the most fruitful followership we can ever pursue in this life. 
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Highlight Passage: Numbers 9: 23… [NKJV] …
23 At the command of the Lord they remained encamped, and at the command of the Lord they journeyed; they kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses.
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Numbers 9: 15-23 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK 
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Reference Passage #1 - NKJV: Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  I hope all who read here have this on memorize - if not, perhaps now is the time to do that …

Reference Passage #2 - NKJV: Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  And this one is the most posted passage in my devotional journaling … therefore, I also pray that you have it memorized and internalized …

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Jennifer Benson Schuldt, opened with an illustrative story involving, of all things, a dog show (see attached picture), where all the dogs involved followed the commands of their masters/trainers. Whatever the trainers commanded, the dogs followed to the Nth degree; and this was Shuldt’s way of illustrating what today’s highlight passage brought out.

In the Numbers, Chapter 9 passage [linked above], we read of that time when God was leading His chosen ones, the Israelites, toward the Promised Land; and He did so by showing His presence as either a cloud, by day, or a pillar of fire, by night; and whenever God wanted His children to move, He signaled it to the people through that cloud; and the people moved the Tabernacle whenever God commanded, leading them closer and closer to the Promised Land.

Interesting in the both the Old and New Testaments, this process of the Master’s commands and the peoples’ followership was found in two verses of the same number: In the OT, Numbers 9:23 … and in the NT, Luke 9:23. And after you’ve taken in the attached picture, listened to the song by Steve Green, and meditated on the highlight and reference passages, I’m sure you’re just as convicted as was I this morning, by our need to be more diligent and disciplined followers of our Master and LORD, Jesus, The Christ.

But that implies that we’re doing all we can, like those dogs at the dog show, to get the commands from our Master and then to do all we can to follow those commands as He leads us to His Promised Land.

What about it, friend? How’re we doing? Personally, I need to be listening more for my Savior’s commands and then following them more in self denial. How about you?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, You are the cloud over my Tabernacle. Lead me and I will follow! … 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, August 18, 2014

August 18 2014 … Faith Tested Everyday!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 230

Devotional Song: Go to this link -  and take the time to see a lyrical video of an anonymous praise group singing the classic hymn written by Fanny Crosby in 1873 … Blessed Assurance - Jesus Is Mine, proclaiming the reality that we can await, IN FAITH, all the promises wrought on the cross by our Savior. The question is … IS THAT OUR STORY … of faith as we await His coming again??
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Highlight Passage: Revelation 22: 20 … [NKJV] …
20 “ … He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” … 
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Revelation 22: 12-22 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1 - NKJV: 2nd Corinthians 13: 5-6 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
… Paul’s challenge for believers to test their faith…

Reference Passage #2 - NKJV: Hebrews 11: 1-3 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  From the well-known HALL OF FAITH chapter …

Reference Passage #3 - NKJV: James 1: 2-7 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Faith tested and preserved = patience realized …

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Phillip Yancey, opened with an illustrative story of how some POWs in WW 2 rigged a radio in prison at the end of the war and learned about the end of the WW2 four days before the prison officials. They were celebrating, with this knowledge, knowing that they would be free, when several days after the revelation the prison guards and officials had vanished from the prison, learning what the POWs already knew.

The Apostle Paul, knowing what he knew about Jesus’ second coming challenged believers in the 1st Century to test their faith [see 2nd Cor. 13: 5-6 linked above] to see if they (and we) were ready for Jesus’ coming for His Bride. The whole of Revelation is Jesus’ calling his Church to be ready for His coming as the Bridegroom for His bride. And at the end of this vision imparted to John, we read of the beloved Apostle declaring, “Even so, come again, Lord Jesus!” 

Are we ready for our Lord to come - maybe today … maybe tomorrow … maybe in our grandkids lifetime; but do we really believe, in testing our faith today by what we think, say, and do, that HE IS COMING!!

I believe it! How about you? … BUT … are we living that in the glory of that realized faith?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, do come again soon, 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.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 17, 20147 … Together, Singing Our Love

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 229

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please go this video link to hear a large chorus singing the great Wesley classic O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing, declaring that singing God’s praises never goes out of style, especially when God’s people are singing in choral togetherness, just as we should be living together in the unity of God’s love for all mankind.


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Highlight Passage - John 17: 20-21 [NKJV] … Jesus prays for the unity of His Church …
  20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. … “ 
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Highlight Passage [Context] - John 17:20-26 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1 - Mark 12: 30-31 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK ... for Jesus’ declaration of the Jewish Shema for all mankind …

Reference Passage #2 - John 13: 34-35 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK ... for Jesus’ desire for all Christians to find unity/togetherness in the love of God …

Reference Passage #3 - Acts 1: 7-8 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK ... for Jesus’ call for His disciples to be His witnesses …

My Journal for Today: In this morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, the author, Julie Ackerman Link, relates a story of Canadian Astronaut, Chris Hadfield, who sang live on TV with a chorus here on earth when he was in the space station. Part of the song he had written, “Is Someone Singing,” had a line in the chorus which declared, “You can’t make out borders from up here,” which is a thought which Jesus had for mankind when He prayed for His Church Body to come together in the unity of God’s love, which we all need to express to/for one another.

Surely it doesn’t take a Ph.D. in any field of science or to be a biblical scholar to see that Jesus’ prayer in John 17 has not been realized; and so, as we all recognize this reality, let us all here strive to be the living fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer and commandment for His disciples. And as we live for Christ, let us all be a chorus of perfect harmony, praising God and reaching out as our Lord commanded to love one another.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help us all, as Your children, to live as a chorus of love, singing Your praises and sharing Your love with each other… ALWAYS! ... Amen

Blogger Note: Every day 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, August 16, 2014

August 16, 2014 … Living Billboards

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 228

August 16, 20147 … Follow the Leader Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please go this video link to hear Chris Rice singing the classic song of faith and witness Go Light Your World, proclaiming the need for all Christians to be living/walking billboards, proclaiming our faith with all we say and do as we walk through life.



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Highlight Passage - 2nd Corinthians 5: 17; … 20a [NKJV] … The angel to the women at the tomb … 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. … 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, … 
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Highlight Passage [Context] - 2nd Corinthians 5: 16-21 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK 
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Reference Passage #1 - Matthew 5: 14-16 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK for Jesus’ call for His disciples to shine His light …

Reference Passage #2 - Acts 1: 7-8 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK for Jesus’ call for His disciples to be His witnesses …

My Journal for Today: In this morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, the author, C.P. Hia, relates a story of an Air Force pilot shot down and imprisoned during the Viet Nam conflict. And even though he was submitted to horrible tortures during his imprisonment, when he because a State Department official many years later, he went back to Viet Nam to become a living “billboard” of forgiveness and reconciliation. And that’s a picture of what we as transformed, born-again Christians need to be to fulfill our calling by Christ to be His lights in this ever darkening world as well as witnesses to God’s love and mercy when so much of the world is so unforgiving and hate-filled.

 And I personally know of this calling, having become a “poster-boy” for the highlight passage which was penned by the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth and for us, by extension. God took me from being a poster-boy for sinful living and transformed me into an ordained minister of His Gospel.

So, take in what Paul wrote in 2nd Cor. 5: 17, … 20, copied/linked above; and let’s all ask ourselves are we living/walking “billboards,” declaring the love and mercy of God by how we live and move and have our being in this world.  Or are we walking billboards for Satan and the world. It's our choice.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to become a lving/walking billboard, declaring Your love for all to experience in me. ... Amen

Blogger Note: Every day 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, August 15, 2014

August 15, 20147 … Hope ETERNAL !!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 226

August 15, 20147 … Follow the Leader Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please go this video link to hear an anonymous praise group singing the classic song of hope in the faith Because He Lives, proclaiming the truth of the Good News of the Gospel … that because Jesus lives, we can face all the tomorrows of this challenging life.


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Highlight Passage - Matthew 28: 6a [NKJV] … The angel to the women at the tomb …
  11 He is not here; for He is risen as He said. … 
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Highlight Passage [Context] - Matthew 28: 1-10 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1 - John 14: 19 [NKJV] … Jesus’ promise to His disciples in the upper room …
  19 "Because I live, you will live also … " 

My Journal for Today: In this morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, the author, Anne Cetas, relates a very personal incident where she grieved at the loss of both of her parents within a month. However in the face of her loss and loneliness, she also felt an inner peace and joy, knowing that her parents were with Jesus and she would see them again in heaven.

 That is the hope eternal that all Christians have because of what the angel at the tomb of Jesus declared to the women who had come to check out the grave. The reality they discovered, that … HE IS RISEN! … gives all who believe in Him as Lord hope eternal.

Have you, as a Christian, ever been to a funeral for someone who openly had spurned God, … i.e., one who had rejected Christ as his/her Savior? Such a funeral or memorial service is entirely different that one for a Christian, isn’t it? At the latter there is often laughter and joy, even though the circumstances which caused the death might have been horrible. But when a non-believer is laid to rest, it’s difficult or impossible for those who knew the deceased to declare, “Rest In Peace.” And why is that? It is because Christians at such a funeral for a non-believer know what lies ahead for that lost soul; and that is eternal torment in hell.

 But the opposite is the case for a born-again, believing Christian, isn’t it? Because no matter what the circumstances surrounding such a passing, Christians know – in their hearts – that what Jesus promised His disciples in the upper room, will be true for any Christian who believed in Christ as their Savior and Lord. Yes … because HE lives, I will live with Him forever!

 And because of that truth, sung in the song to which I linked you today, i.e., BECAUSE HE LIVES, I have hope eternal that I will one day live with Him in Heaven; and so it is with both of my parents, having passed from this life to the next, two believers who now reside with my LORD forever.

And knowing that fact … do I sense a ”HALLELUJAH!!!” from any reading with me here today?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, because You live, I can face tomorrow. ... Amen

Blogger Note: Every day 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, August 14, 2014

August 14, 20147 … Worthwhile Witness

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 226

August 12, 20147 … Follow the Leader Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please go this video link to hear Daniel O’Donnell singing a song of Christian witness and commitment, Here I Am Lord, proclaiming the power of our witness when we surrender all to Jesus.

Click on photo to read text - then return either with back arrow or on the "X" in the upper right corner of graphic 

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Highlight Passage - 1st Peter 2: 11-12 [NKJV] … 
11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable amount the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] - 1st Peter 2: 9-12 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1 - Matthew 5: 16 [NKJV] … Repeating from yesterday’s ODB devotional, Christ’s admonition to disciples as to our witness to others …
  16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. 

Reference Passage #2 - Acts 1: 8 [NKJV] … Once again as well, Jesus declares …
  8 And you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will become witness to Me in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to the utmost part of the earth. 

My Journal for Today: In this morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, the author, Randy Kilgore, relates an incident where a friend of his was attacked by bees in close proximity with another friend. The first friend received several bee stings, the second only one or two. The first friend, however, had almost no reaction to his multiple stings; but the second friend was allergic to bee stings and had a severe allergic reaction to his few stings.

 Kilgore used the story to illustrate that our words/actions can be like the bee stings in the story. Though our words may be few or our actions seemingly benign to some, either can have profound effects upon others whom we have more personal influence. The old adage, “sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me, “ is TOTALLY FALSE; because our words may not affect some; but they can often have a drastic negative affect upon others, especially if those words open old wounds or are not in accord with our perceived character.

 Have you ever been sorely disappointed or hurt when the words of a friend just don’t fit what you perceived their character to be? Or have you been let down when a Christian, with whom you had deep respect, is revealed to have had a deep fall into some form of socially unacceptable behavior? How do you feel when a highly respected Christian leader is “busted” in the media and revealed to have fallen into sexual sin? Or very personally, how do you feel when a Christian friend is uncovered to have lied to you?

 The Apostle Peter, in writing to Christians who were being severely persecuted for their faith (see today’s highlight passages), exhorted these believers to stand firm in their faith, because Peter strongly proclaimed the power that the words/actions of these mostly Jewish Christians would have upon the minds/hearts of the Gentiles, mostly Romans, who were persecuting these first century Christians.

What we do or say as Christians will be the light which Jesus commanded His disciples to become (see Matt. 5: 16; and those words/deeds will become the witness Jesus exhorted believers to share with the world after The Savior left the world and ascended in Heaven after His resurrection.

 Therefore, … today, … let us all examine our witness, i.e., the character others perceive in our lives, and then let us go forth, with what we say and do, shining the Light of Christ for all to see.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, just as I prayed yesterday in my devotional blog, … I pray that I go out and shine Your powerful light through all I think, say, and do to be a powerful witness in my world for Your glory. ... Amen

Blogger Note: Every day 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, August 13, 2014

August 13, 20147 … Surrender Power

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 225

August 12, 20147 … Surrender Power 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please go this video link to hear Chris Tomlin singing the his contemporary classic How Great Is Our God, proclaiming the power of God in any/all who believe and surrender to His Spirit.


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Highlight Passage - Acts 6: 8, … 10 [NKJV] … 
8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. … 
10 And they [the people] were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.
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Highlight Passage [Context] - 2nd Timothy 2: 1-7 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK 
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Reference Passage #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 Passage #2 - Acts 1: 8 [NKJV] … Jesus declares …
8a And you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will become witness to Me in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to the utmost part of the earth. 

My Journal for Today: In this morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, the author told of an incident in 1891 where the people of the Southwest were having a severe drought and needed rain. So the people of that area brought in someone who had a reputation of explosive techniques to bring rain. But all he did was make a lot of noise with various types of explosions with dynamite and other sources of explosive power. However, no rain came.

The story from the book of Acts at the outset of chapter 6 however, showed a different kind of power; and it was the type of power spoken of earlier in Acts [see Acts 1: 8] when Jesus ascended into heaven, promising that the very power of the resurrection, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, would be unleashed in believers to allow them to be powerful witnesses to and for God in the early church times. And when we read about this power being unleashed by Stephen and other witnesses in the early church, it was impressive. And this witness of God’s power in the faithful, like Stephen, caused many to surrender and be converted.

 But was that power spoken of in Acts 6: 1-10 or earlier in Acts 1: 8 only for the early faithful believers; or can this power be on display among Christians today? And the answer is that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow; so, if others are not seeing the power of God in Christians today, where do you think the problem lies? … Duh!! … It wouldn’t be a lack of faith, would it?

The type of Spirit-filled faith which Stephen (and other early church leaders) had is not on display today because we Christians of today are not filled with the same degree of surrender to God’s Spirit as was Stephen. The Spirit is the same; but our degree of faith and surrender is not.

So, today, my prayer is for a powerful filling of God’s Spirit in my life so that I can be what Jesus called me to be in Matthew 5: 16 and Acts 1: 8, a powerful light and witness, … one who can shine God’s light through my life into an every darkening world.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I pray that I go out and shine Your powerful light through all I think, say, and do to be a powerful witness in my world for Your glory. ... Amen

Blogger Note: Every day 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.