Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 30, 2014 … Starting Over

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 273

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to hear a poignant poem, written and recited by Woodrow Kroll, Start Over, which documents the choice all Christians have given God’s sanctifying grace and His resurrection power when things are not going God’s way … we can START OVER.


Highlight Passage: Luke 5: 31-32 [NKJV} … And to this truth - HALLELUJAH!!! …
  31 Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Luke 5: 17-32 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Jesus IS “a fresh start” …


Reference Passage #1: Luke 9: 23 [NKJV} … Anytime a Christian needs a restart, Jesus gives the formula …
  7 Then He said to them all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 

Reference Passage #2: 2nd Corinthians 5: 17 [NKJV} … Salvation is THE fresh start …
  17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 

Reference Passage #3: Philippians 1: 6 [NKJV} … Salvation is THE fresh start …
  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: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David McCasland, reminded me of a choice I always have in life … to do a redo.

 Take a look at the attached photo Perhaps you’re in a place in life where you’d like to hit that “START OVER” button? And if you’ve got about 2 minutes, use the “Devotional Song” link above [even tho it’s not a song] to hear one of my favorite poems, entitled “Start Over,” by the great Bible teacher, Woodrow Kroll. Each year on December 31st, I stop at the end of the day, reminded by my computer scheduler; and I recite that poem aloud, meditating on the deeper meaning, which is reinforced by the Scriptures, linked and copied above.

 BTW, if anyone wants a copy of that poem, JUST USE THIS LINK  and you can print out or read a pdf version of the poem.

 You see, my fellow Christian, when we became a Christian (see 2nd Cor. 5: 17), we got the ultimate “start over,” didn’t we? We became “new creations” from the covering/saving blood of Jesus Christ. And now, being covered and completed by God’s sanctifying grace (see Phil. 1: 6), if we follow Jesus’ commands to His disciples [see Luke 9: 23 above], and we’re willing to deny ourselves and follow our Lord, His Spirit will empower us to hit the restart button during any trying times in life (go look up and meditate on Matt. 11: 28-30, John 16: 33, and 2nd Tim. 1: 7).

 So, let’s hit the restart button today and do our REDO for the day.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … I’m so grateful that you led me to hit THE restart button on 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, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014 … YES, Truly AMAZING Grace

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 272

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a video of country singer, George Jones, singing the most oft sung hymn in Christian history, Amazing Grace, and Jones is an apt example of the amazing grace of God to save such a man, … a former letch and alcoholic.

[To read lyrics, click on graphic - 
then on "X" in upper right to return to blog]

Highlight Passage: Ephesians 2: 8a [NKJV} … And to this truth - HALLELUJAH!!! …
  8  For by grace you have been saved through faith.. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Ephesians 2: 1-10[NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  From death to life by God’s grace …
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Reference Passage #1: Ephesians 1: 7 [NKJV} … More from Paul on grace …
  7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace … 

Reference Passage #2: Ephesians 2: 1-3 [NKJV} … Once dead, … now alive; … once according to the world, … now following Christ; … once according to the flesh, … now according to the Spirit. Truly, AMAZING GRACE!! …
  1  And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Phillip Yancey, takes his readers back to the incredible historical story of the author to the lyrics of one of the most famous hymns in Christendom, … Amazing Grace.

 You likely know the story of John Newton, a former Captain of a British slave ship, who was mercifully saved by God and later became a Pastor in 18th century England and mentor of William Wilberforce, … the two fighting hard in those times to have slavery legally abolished. The story of Wilberforce become a powerful movie a few years ago with the title of Newton’s famous hymn.

 I’ve always identified deeply with the opening lyrics of the powerful refrain of that hymn, … “Amazing grace, … which saved a wretch like me.” And in today’s linked song (above), one such “wretch,” George Jones, the famous, but raucus, country singer, so poignantly and personally sings those powerful lyrics. And I, as well, was one of those “wretches,” living over 22 years of my younger adult years, deeply involved in habitual sexual sin, adultery, and perversion. And as it says in today’s highlight passage, from Ephesians 2: 1-10, I was dead in my sin; and God reached down into the deadness of my existence and gave me life eternal. … AMAZING GRACE!!!

 And think of the historical examples of wretches, like John Newton. … or King David or the Apostle Paul, … or again, … ME, … whom God was so merciful to save and to sanctify for His glory. And I pray today that all who read here, including this former wretch, are being bathed in God’s AMAZING GRACE.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … “I once was lost, but now I’m found, … was blind, but now I see.” … HALLELUJAH!!! and… 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, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sept 28, 2014 … Grateful for Boll Weevils

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 271

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please go this video link to again hear a version of Steven Curtis Chapman singing his classic, His Strength Is Perfect, reminding us of the truth of our TOTAL dependence on God’s strength to cover our weaknesses in this life.


Highlight Passage - 2nd Corinthians 12: 9 [NKJV] … 
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] - 2nd Corinthians 12: 7-12 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK ... 
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Reference Passage #1 - The entire Journal of Job in the Old Testament, which you’ve very likely read in the past … but GO TO THIS LINK for the final chapter … to see how a merciful and just God restored the beleaguered, but repentant, believer. 

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

Reference Passage #3 … 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: In this morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, the author, Julie Ackerman Link, uses one of my favorite stories in the New Testament, the incident of Paul being socked with a mysterious “thorn,” to illustrate her lesson that often God uses very devastating, and often very painful, circumstance or maladies to bring us to a surrendered and seeking state of mind, which then often leads to a repentant and receptive spirit, which in turn leads us to surrender and seek God’s guidance and onward to HIS victory.

 Ms. Links also used a more current story of the time when the boll weevil descended on the cotton crops in Enterprise Alabama, which led them to diversify and rotate their crops, saving the region’s farmers and their economy. In the attached photo, you can see the monument Enterprise erected in thanks that God sent the boll weevil to lead them to change their way of farming. This story, plus the story of the Apostle Paul’s “thorn,” as well as the entire book of Job, show us that God sometimes either allows or engineers calamity to cause us to go in surrender mode in our life to His merciful and willingness to save, renew, and restore our lives.

 Perhaps you’ve had a boll weevil or a “thorn” … or a maybe some devastating, chronic, or painful malady in life, which has caused us to recognize how dependent we are on God. I sure have; and I’m so grateful that God led me through my “boll weevil” times; and, now believing in the truth of Romans 8: 28, I am a monument to his restoring and renewing Spirit (really a poster boy for 2nd Cor. 5: 17 - see copied above).

 How about you? Can you see that our “boll weevils” are God’s way of getting us to look to surrender ourselves to Him.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I am here where I am today because of Your mercy in sending the times of the “thorn,” to save me from myself. 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, September 27, 2014

Sept 27, 2014 … Wonderful Reunion

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 270

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please go this video link to see/hear Fernando Ortega singing his classic, Beyond The Sky, reminding us, so gloriously of ,what awaits us … the blessed reunion we’ll have with God Himself, our Christian family and friends … in Heaven … AMEN and HALLELUJAH!!!

 
Highlight Passage - 1st Thessalonians 4: 17-18 [NKJV] … 
17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] - - 1st Thessalonians 4: 13-18 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1 - 1st Corinthians 15: 35-58 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK ...

My Journal for Today: In this morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, the author, Joe Stowell, began his devotional with thoughts of his beloved earthly father and how he looked forward to his reunion with his dad in heaven. And his remembrance caused me to think of my own earthly father in his final years.

My dad spent his last few years in a nursing care facility with many, many, MANY maladies, most of them painful. I didn’t get a chance to visit dad all that often; but when I did he always jumped on me to reprise a reading of a passage of scripture from Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth [go to 1st Corinthians 15: 35-58] which I had read to him shortly after he had gone to the nursing residence with all his problems, where he had lost all semblance of independence. It was tough for him, especially having to deal with all the physical pain of his various maladies and the emotional humiliation of not being able to care for himself. So, he really fixated on that passage in 1st Cor. 15; and I was so honored that he remembered that I had read it to him. I gloried with him as I read the passage from First Corinthians 15 [I had my share of aches and pains too], and we both imagined what it was going to be like when He both had a new, resurrected body in heaven. And he would say, “I can’t wait!”

 And now He’s with Jesus, with no pain anymore; and we both await Jesus coming again to take His bride to glory, … where my father and I, along with all of God’s Saints will experience that glorious reunion which Joe Stowel wrote about in his ODB devotional today [you can use the link below to read it]. And thinking about that great day of reunion in glory, I can’t help but say, with a big HALLELUJAH [!!!], what the Apostle John wrote in Revelation 22: 20 … 

“Yes, even so, come, Lord Jesus!!” 

My Prayer for Today: Lord, all those who believe and live for You await Your return to take ALL of Your Bride home. 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, September 26, 2014

Sept 26, 2014 … My Weakness – His Strength

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 269

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please go this video link to see/hear Stephen Curtis Chapman singing his classic, His Strength Is Perfect, declaring God’s truth that He’s always there with HIS strength to cover our weakness … that we can trust Him in our times of weakness …


Highlight Passage - Psalm 5, Verse 11 [NKJV] … 
11 But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] - - Psalm 5 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 9 [NKJV] ...
  9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

My Journal for Today: In this morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, the author, Bill Crowder, illustrates how we trust God in our trials and life challenges with a story of a young woman, Pascale Honore, in Australia who had been paraplegic for over 18 years. She was befriended by Ty Swan, young surfer, who helped Honore experience the joy of surfing by strapping her with duct tape to his body; and with his strength/skill, he surfed the waves with Honore on his back.

 Certainly it’s easy to see the degree of trust that this paralyzed woman had to have in the young surfer; and this illustrates what David was singing about in Psalm 5, especially in verse 11, linked above. When we, as Christians are at our weakest, that’s the time when we need to surrender our weakness to God’s strength. As Jesus related to the Apostle Paul in 2nd Cor. 12: 9, when the Apostle had been weakened by some devastating “thorn,” … Jesus declares that His strength is perfected in our weakness

The question is … DO WE BELIEVE THE LORD?!! … Please take the time to take in the attached photo, the linked song by Stephen Curtis Chapman, and all of God’s word linked/copied above; and then meditate on God’s strength; and let’s revel in His love.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I BELIEVE YOU, and I trust You in my times of weakness to give me Your strength. 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, September 25, 2014

Sept 24, 2014 … The Shepherd’s Whistle

Blogger Note: Technical reasons precluded me posting my 9/24/14 journal entry. Therefore, though out of sequence, I'm posting it today - on 9/25 - for accountability or quite possibly to satisfy my OCD tendencies ... ;>) ... WRB
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Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 267 Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please go this video link to see/hear a brief tutorial on the whistles used by modern shepherds to control their sheep dogs and call their sheep …


Highlight Passage - Zechariah 10: 8 [NKJV] …
8 I will whistle for them and gather them; … I will redeem them.
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Highlight Passage [Context] - - Zechariah 10: 1-8 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] ...
  23 Then He [Jesus] said to them all [a large group of followers], “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” 

Reference Passage #2 - John 10: 27 [NKJV] … 
10 My sheep hear My voice; and I know them; and they follow Me

My Journal for Today: In this morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, the author, Mart de Haan, opens with a story about tie ancient language of whistling developed over time by the inhabitants of La Gomera, one of the small Canary Islands, where the people could communicate with distinct and identifiable whistles over the valleys/hills of that island, over distances of up to 2 miles.

In the time of Christ on earth, the shepherds would use whistling commands for their lead, more mature, sheep, especially when they were at a distance; and these older sheep would recognize the shepherd’s call and come to him, leading the lesser mature in the flock to the shepherd. In John 10: 27 [above] we read of Jesus, using the self-identifying metaphor of “The Good Shepherd,” indicating that the flock who’ve been sent to Him and gathered by His Heavenly Father are the ones who know His voice – i.e., like the whistles of the earthly shepherds – and they obey His calls, following Him obediently (see my ever recurring passage of Luke 9: 23).

 The self-evaluation questions which readily come from today’s ODB entry are these for anyone reading along with me here?
1. Am I in Jesus’ flock? 
2. Am I willing to deny myself and follow my Good Shepherd wherever He leads? 

It doesn’t take a theologian to answer these questions; and I personally know to stay as close to my Good Shepherd as possible – at all times! … And one way I do that, as well as to hear His calling more clearly, is to be here daily … in His word; … because like the whistles of those 1st Century shepherds, Jesus’ calling is clearest and most discernible from His word. So, everyday, God willing, you will find me here doing all I can to stay close to My Good Shepherd and to hear His calling.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I hear Your call, … My Shepherd, and I come. 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.

Sept 25, 2014 … Let My Words Be Few

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 268

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please go this video link to hear Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing their poignant song Let My Words Be Few, declaring the truth that we all should observe … that we speak too much and do not listen enough.


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Highlight Passage - Proverbs 10: 19 [NKJV] … Jesus prays for the unity of His Church …
19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, … but he who restrains his lips is wise.
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Highlight Passage [Context] - - Proverbs 10: 17-21 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1 - Ecclesiastes 3: 7 [NKJV] ...
  7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; … 

Reference Passage #2 - Ecclesiastes 5: 2 [NKJV] … 
2 Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth. Therefore let your words be few. 

My Journal for Today: In this morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, the author, Jennifer Schuldt, begins by quoting an old poem of anonymous authorship …
A wise old owl sat in an oak; 
The more he saw the less he spoke; 
The less he spoke the more he heard; 
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?

One of my biggest weaknesses [I guess you could call it a “fault”] is my desire – and all too often reality – of getting my “two-cents worth” in a conversation. Most of the time I’m trying to create or live up to a self-imposed reputation which goes along with the “Dr.” and “Rev.” titles which are attached to my persona, given my education or ordination. I’ve always been a people-pleaser; and the way I so often try to make an impression is through my verbosity.

 Now it’s clear that press for getting “my say” into my interactions with others is not supported by God’s word, is it? Just read through the poem and the scripture references provided by the ODB author; and I become duly convicted – to say the least! Clearly I need to do what Phillips, Craig, and Dean sing about in the song I’ve linked readers to above. I need to “Let My Words Be Few!” I’ll let the attached photo, the linked song, and the scriptures above speak to your heart; but I do plan to monitor my verbal output more and speak less for at least the next week. We’ll see how it goes.

My Prayer Today: ... Lord, help me to let my words be few.

Blogger PS:  ... It's certainly not of great importance; but if one just might be following my blogs, which are generally filed daily, you may have noted I missed posting yesterday.  The technical reasons are a damaged internet modem and lack of connection to the Internet on 9/24.  Right now I'm in a restaurant with wifi access posting this entry for 9/25 a bit later than normal in the day for me.  But be assured I had my own quiet time with the Lord yesterday and today; and I'll do my best to keep on track with daily entries - somehow!  Thanks for your understanding.   <'wrb><

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.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 23, 2014 … Poetic License from God

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 266

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a video of an anonymous celtic group singing old hymn Be Thou My Vision, which expresses in song many of the same thoughts God gave me this morning to write the poem I’ve crafted and written below.


Highlight Passage: 2nd Samuel 1: 17, … 19 [NKJV} … David’s psalm - “The Song of the Bow” …  
17 Then David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son, … 19  “The beauty of Israel is slain on your high places! How the mighty have fallen! … “ 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: 2nd Samuel 1: 17-27 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  David’s lamentation, inspired by his grief over the death of Saul and Jonathan
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My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David McCasland, related the story behind the poem David wrote in his grief after the death of King Saul and his son, Jonathan, who had been David’s beloved friend. David called the poem, “The Song of the Bow,” and it used David’s inspired and poetic talents to express his grief and his love for the King and his dear friend, now gone from his life. Please take the time, reading here to use the link to the pass quoting the poem/song in 2nd Samuel 1, linked above.

 As McCasland points out, “ We find poetry used throughout the Bible to express deep emotion, ranging from joyful praise to anguished loss. “ David probably wrote more poems, many accompanied by music that we do not have now; but the poetic lyrics from the original Hebrew, now translated into English, we do have; and how many of us have been enriched or enlightened, or empowered by the inspired poems of David and other biblical writers? God obviously used poetry, written by various authors to provide His grace to readers, even today, … believers who need the emotions conveyed by the poems to lift us up when we’re down and give us direction when we seem lost. Have you ever been lifted or directed by David’s psalms? l would guess you have, as have I. 

Well, this morning after meditating on David’s poem from 2nd Samuel and reading McCasland’s OBD entry, and having written some poetry in my past, I prayed a simple prayer, asking God’s Spirit to give me a word of poetry to express myself about my journey as a Christian. And this is what came to me, … a short poem I call “Homeward Bound.”

Homeward Bound 

Seeking the essence of perfection, 
Moving down a foggy path, 
And following the Light Provided by His Spirit; 
I'm empowered by grace, 
Undeserved but welcomed ... 
To cover human weaknesses 
Which abound in my soul. 

He leads me; 
And I weakly, yet willfully follow 
Thru the minefields of death, 
Yet ever onward, 
 Toward His garden home 
 Of life and eternal peace, … 
 Homeward bound! 

No, … I’m no David; but I do believe God can give anyone who’s touched by His poetry to express His message … from any soul who has been given the talent to receive and express his/her thoughts in poetry. Perhaps you should take a little God-time today to pray and see if God’s Spirit can make a poet of you.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, thank You for imparting Your inspiration to write a short thought about my journey with You through life, … Homeward Bound! … 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, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014 … Danger - Danger - Danger !!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 265

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a video of the group, 4 Him, singing the pertinent and powerful song The Basics of Live, reminding Christians that we must avoid false teachings and return to the truth of the one, true Gospel


Highlight Passage: Galatians 1: 6-7 [NKJV} … There’s only ONE true gospel!
  6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Galatians 1: 6-10 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK Paul’s warning to the Church still holds true today.
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Reference Passage #1: Ephesians, Chapter 1 … [NKJV] ... GO TO THIS LINK  Paul writing to the church as to the basics of the faith

Reference Passage #2: Colossians, Chapter 2… [NKJV] ... GO TO THIS LINK  Paul again warning against false teachings

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dave Branon, referred to a challenge faced by the Apostle Paul, which is a dilemma we still encounter today. In the 1st century there were false teachers doing all they could with their clever ploys to draw the attention of mankind away from the ONE and ONLY true Gospel. And I think you know that we still have such wolves in sheep’s garments today (see attached photo).

 In the Apostle Paul’s day there were Judaizers, Gnostics, and legalists trying to convince newly converted Christians that there was more to the Gospel than just surrendering in faith to the finished work of Christ and believing in Christ as Lord and Savior. And Paul felt compelled, as in today’s passage, as well as in Chapter 1 of his letter to the Ephesians and other epistles, like the one in Chapter 2 of the letter to Colosse [both linked above], to send up a warning to the Church to “BEWARE” of false teachers.

 And again, as you can see in the attached photo, we still have the problem of false teachers in our world today, doing all they can to invent a false “gospel,” which takes non- believers farther than ever away from being able to see the truth of the true Gospel; and taking Christians into confusion and distorted thinking about life. If you’re a mature Christian you can probably cite many examples in our world today such as the distortions of legalism, … of the heresies of the prosperity gospel, … of the myriad of false religions such as Mormonism, Islam, etc., and the clever con-artists of the “word of faith” or new age movements. As in the attached photo, many of these Gospel distorters are wolves in sheep’s coverings, … those like Joel Osteen and more worldly versions like Oprah Winfrey.

 So from my ODB devotional and from my own keyboard there today, I scream out BEWARE!!! … WARNING!!!. And as the song link proclaims (see above), let’s get back, teach, and live by the BASICS of the true Gospel in our lives.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, give me Spirit-led discernment to avoid the wolves which prowl our world in sheep’s garments. 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, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 21, 2014 … Feeding on God’s Word

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 264

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a video of the group, Mercy Me, singing the poignant song Word Of God, Speak, reminding us that God’s word is what we need to hear God’s voice … please note the word of God referenced in this video and well as then poignant and powerful song lyrics …



Highlight Passage: Psalm 19: 10 [NKJV} … God’s word - HOW SWEET IT IS!! …
  10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Psalm 19: 7-14 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK The Psalmist declares the perfection and sweetness of God’s truth.
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Reference Passage #1: Psalm 119: 97: 104 … [NKJV] ... GO TO THIS LINK This Psalmist loved to feed on God’s Law … especially note Verse 103 which so parallels Psalm 19: 10, quoted above.

Reference Passage #2: Matthew 4: 1-4 … [NKJV] ... GO TO THIS LINK Jesus, hungry from fasting 40 days, was tempted by Satan and quotes from Deuteronomy 8: 3 as to where He gets His spiritual nourishment - i.e., from God’s word.
   
Reference Passage #3: 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17… [NKJV]
  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. 

Reference Passage #4: Hebrews 5: 12-14… [NKJV] ...  GO TO THIS LINK We need more than the milk of babes to mature in Christ; we need the solid meat of God’s word.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dennis Fisher, uses the word picture of a scrumptious dining experience to illustrate what God’s word is the spiritually hungry; and that’s what the attached photo also obviously illustrates.

 Fisher goes on to write: ” When it comes to spiritual food for our souls, God has given us a varied menu that we can chew on and savor. In doing so, we can be filled and satisfied. The historic books, poetry, wisdom literature, prophecy, and other parts of the Bible strengthen us when we are weak, give us wisdom and encouragement, and nourish us for the day’s journey. “

When Jesus was tempted after fasting for 40 days in the wilderness, Satan tried to get him to turn rocks into bread, knowing of Jesus’ bodily weakness and His divine powers; but what did God turn to in this moment of temptation. Yes, God’s word - in this case from Deuteronomy 8:3; and Jesus clearly declares to Satan that we get our spiritual power to resist temptation from God’s truth and His word.

 The Psalmists highlighted from today’s ODB entry (see the references above from Psalm 19 and 119) clearly point to just how filling and sustaining is God’s word when we decide to partake of its sweetness and as we’re fed by God’s Spirit through His word. And both Paul and the Author of Hebrews [see references above] point to how we need to feed on God’s word - even daily - to have the strength to deal with life.

 And this brings us to the challenge from today’s ODB … Are we feasting bountifully on God’s truth … and daily? … Are we being filled and sustained by its empowering enlightenment? Because if we are not, we are spiritually malnourished and weakened in walking through life?

 So, let’s commit to go to the God’s table and be fed from His word … today and every day henceforth.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I come here everyday to feast at Your table of truth and partake of the sweetness of joy 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, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

September 20, 2014 … Anchored to The Rock

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 263

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a video of Ray Boltz singing a song written by a Pastor Lawrence Channing, The Anchor Holds, reminding Christians of the truth that our faith is affixed to a Rock which will always hold us in the storms of life, if we but remain anchored to our relationship with Christ. Unfortunately the one who sings this song did not and is sadly adrift in this world at this time.


Highlight Passage: 2nd Chronicles 24: 1-2 [NKJV} … When King Joash’s faith was anchored in the Lord, he did good …
  1 Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. 2 Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: 2nd Chronicles, Chapter 24 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  But note how Joash went adrift when His mentor Jehoiada died and Joash took his eye off the Lord … see verses 15-22 …
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Reference Passage #1: Deuteronomy 31: 6… [NKJV] … 
6 “… Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” 

Reference Passage #2: Psalm 9: 9-10 … [NKJV] ... GO TO THIS LINK David’s testimony of His God Who saves …

Reference Passage #3: Psalm 56: 3-4 … [NKJV] GO TO THIS LINK  David, when he was attacked, still had his anchor of faith strongly affixed in the Rock of Ages

Reference Passage #4: Hebrews 6: 19-20… [NKJV] GO TO THIS LINK We affix our anchor of faith the the hope we have in Jesus!!

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Cindy Hess Kasper, took her readers (that’s me!) back in the Old Testament story of King Joash, one who became King of the Israelites as a young boy. And if you read the account in 2nd Chronicles 24, linked above, Joash had a strong and godly uncle and mentor, Jehoiada, who helped the young King become one of the few good kings in that time in the history of God’s people.

 But the anchor of faith that Joash had was unfortunately placed in Jehoiada, rather than in God Himself; and when his uncle died, Joash turned bad; and God allowed his enemies to prevail. And the lesson is clear, reinforced by the story of the one who sings the song I’ve chosen for my journal (blog) today. I hope you take time to hear the song from the link above and to read the lyrics provided from the pen of Lawrence Channing, who wrote the song. The song is sung so beautifully by Ray Boltz, whose faith was being challenged by his unwanted same-sex attraction at the time he recorded the song. Now, his anchor of faith has broken away from his former Rock and he now longer is anchored into a relationship with Christ by waning into a lifestyle of homosexuality.

 But the truth of what Lawrence Channing wrote into that song and what God’s word says about the hope we have in Christ, still holds strong with our anchor of faith. The question is to us - “Is our anchor of faith in the Rock of Christ strong enough to hold through the storms of life?” [see attached photo] If it’s not, the storms of challenge may break us away from Christ as it did for Joash or Ray Boltz. But if our anchor of faith is strongly affixed to the hope of Christ, we will prevail as we weather the storms of life.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, my anchor of faith is fixed in 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, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Friday, September 19, 2014

September 19, 2014 … Darkness or Light ??

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 262

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a video of Nichole Nordeman Finally Free reminding Christians that everything changes when the chains of sin are broken with confession and repentance in Christ.


Highlight Passage: James 5: 16 [NKJV} … Dave sings a medley of thanksgiving for God’s love for His people …
  16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: James 5: 16-20 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: 2nd Samuel 12: 1-15 … [NKJV]...  GO TO THIS LINK David confesses and repents of his sin and is mercifully spared by God, but has to deal with the consequences of his sin.

Reference Passage #2: Psalm 32: 1-5 … [NKJV] ... GO TO THIS LINK  David’s testimony of the freedom which comes from confession, repentance, and renewal.

Reference Passage #3: Psalm 139: 1-12 … [NKJV] ... GO TO THIS LINK  There’s no where we can go - in our selfishness/sin - to hide from God

Reference Passage #4: 1st John 1: 5-9… [NKJV] ... GO TO THIS LINK  The truth about how confession and repentance of sin to Christ and with other Christians produces cleansing and fellowship with the Lord.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Julie Ackerman Link, discussed the conflict which arises in the souls of mankind between the desire to be known IN the world and the desire to hide our real selves FROM the world. And often Satan uses this conflict to keep us wrapped up in selfishness or in bondage to our shame over our deeply hidden real selves and the confession and repentance which can (and will) lead to freedom from sin in Christ.

 For many years in my life, I wanted desperately to be loved and accepted by others, vying for their favor by trying to be seen as “a good guy” in the eyes of friends and family. But all that time I was deeply into a hidden, dark place in my life, involved in pornography and habitual sexual sin, habits which had me addicted to selfishness and darkness. So, like a cockroach, I hid from the light of the truth, unwilling to come to light of Christ to confess and repent of my sins.

 King David was in much the same place after his affair and cover-up of his sin involving Bathsheba and his murder of Bathsheba’s husband; and for more than a year, he was out of fellowship with the Lord, walking in the darkness of shame and unreported sin. But finally, David came to confess to God, through Nathan [see 2nd Samuel 12: 1-15 linked above]. And in Psalm 32: 1-5 [also linked above], we read of David’s testimony of deliverance from the darkness into the light and the cleansing and freedom he experienced by a loving, forgiving God.

 So often we miss what Jesus’ brother, James, brought out in the highlight passage above (see James 5: 16-20) as well as the cleansing we can receive when we come clean before a loving/forgiving God [see also the link to 1st John 1: 5-9]. But the question is … “Are we willing to be vulnerable and come out from under the darkness of selfishness and shame to reveal our selves before a God Who already knows who and what we are?” … Besides, as Psalm 139: 1-12 proclaims clearly, there’s nowhere we can go to hide from God anyway.

 So, we might as well come out from the darkness into God’s Light (i.e., our relationship with Christ) and be cleansed from any unconfessed sin; and then to walk in the Light of repentance ever more.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I walk to the Light - Your light. 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, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

September 18, 2014 … Telling HIS Story

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 261

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a video of of folk singer Emmy Lou Harris and Academy winning Actor Robert Duvall singing the old hymn I Love To Tell The Story declaring the need of the saved to relate the story of salvation in their lives.


Highlight Passage: 1st Chronicles 16: 8 [NKJV} … David sings a medley of thanksgiving for God’s love for His people …
8  Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
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Highlight Context - NKJV: 1st Chronicles 16: 7-13 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK

Highlight Context # 2 - NKJV: 1st Chronicles 16: 7-36 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: Psalm 105: 1-15… [NKJV] ... GO TO THIS LINK Note the parallel with 1st Chronicles 16: 8-22

Reference Passage #2: Psalm 96: 1-13… [NKJV] ...  GO TO THIS LINK Note the parallel with 1st Chronicles 16: 23-33

Reference Passage #3: Psalm 106: 1-3; 47-48… [NKJV] ... GO TO THIS LINK Note the parallel with 1st Chronicles 16: 34-36

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Randy Kilgore, used a song of David, the song in 1st Chronicles, chapter 16, verses 8-36, to illustrate how telling God’s story, primarily through the lives of God’s children becomes one of the most joyful acts of witness we, as His saved ones, can do in this life.

 I just love the simple, but pure, rendition of an old 19th century hymn, ”I Love To Tell The Story,” sung so simply (see link above) by Emmy Lou Harris and Robert Duvall, which declares the joy one experiences when the saved Christian has the opportunity to share the story of how God, in His mercy, forgave our sins and has reshaped our lives.

 Have you ever had the opportunity to share your story of salvation and transformation with someone who was seeking to know Jesus? I have on many occasions; and it’s a delight which is almost impossible to describe. King David loved to share THE STORY of how God delivered him personally or about how God, in His infinite mercy, was willing to save His sinful children - over and over again. One such song is found in today’s highlight passage, 1st Chronicles 16: 7-36, which turns out to be a medley of three of the Psalms [see the references above to Psalms 105, 96, and 106, from which the song in today’s highlight passage comes.

 David just loved to tell the OLD, OLD STORY of how God’s love and mercy brings His glory into the lives of those He saves. Personally, if I’m given the opportunity to share my story of salvation and sanctification with anyone, I will joyfully and gladly do so. I pray we all get such opportunities - maybe even today!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I pray for divine appointments to share my story, which is Your Story, with anyone who seeks after 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, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September 17, 2014 … “ALL” Means ALL

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 260

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a video of at the sibling group of Dave’s Highway singing I Surrender All dedicating their career and lives to the only One worthy of such surrender.


Highlight Passage: Mark 10: 21-22 [NKJV} … Jesus teaching about surrender to the “rich young ruler” … 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 
22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Mark 10: 17-22 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: Luke 9: 23… [NKJV] … Without a doubt the most repeated scripture which I’m so often led to quote or reference in my daily journaling …
  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 #2: 1st Timothy 6: 17-19 … [NKJV] GO TO THIS LINK … Paul helps Timothy to know how to preach/teach to the rich in God’s kingdom

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dave Branon, raised one of Jesus’ oft repeated lessons by using the passage from Mark 10 about Jesus’ encounter with a rich, young Jewish leader. And this story was also rendered by two of the other Gospel authors (see Matthew 19: 16-22 and Luke 18: 18-23). And long ago, I learned in my discipleship that anytime multiple Gospel authors repeat the same parable or teaching from Jesus, this is the Holy Spirit’s way of saying … PAY ATTENTION!!!

 So, this story, by all three of the synoptic Gospel authors, is in God’s word as God’s way of telling me (and any Christian), that our Lord wants me (us) to FULLY grasp the lesson Jesus was trying to get across to the main character in this encounter, … a rich, younger man, whom many scholars believe might have been a younger member of the Sanhedrin, the group of committed Pharisees who were a part of the ruling leadership of the Jews in Jerusalem.

 But no matter if the latter is true, it was obvious to Jesus, in His encounter with this rich, young man, that the inquisitive Jewish leader didn’t have a clue WHOM he was encountering, asking Jesus how one can be led into Heaven. Jesus saw deep into this young man’s soul and perceived that the young man was a slave to his riches and the power that came with the wealth. So, when the young man asked the LORD, and his unrecognized “Messiah,” Jesus told him - straight out - that the young ruler must be willing to give up ALL of his riches and power and come to follow Jesus if he really desired entry into God’s kingdom. And we know the result of the encounter. The young man couldn’t get it … or wouldn’t! And he went off desiring to hold on to all his earthly riches.

 How many potential kingdom followers encounter Jesus; and walk away from the encounter as did the rich, young ruler, … lost forever because of their unwillingness to see that when Jesus says “ALL,” He means “ALL.” And I’ll leave it to you, in meditating on this thrice repeated story in Scripture, as well as the Apostle Paul’s teaching to Timothy (see 1st Timothy 6: 17-19 linked above), to consider whether we are holding on to STUFF or power or control in our lives too tightly, … not really having given ALL to Jesus?

 Because when the song, linked above and sung by a young man and his two sisters today, sings “I Surrender ALL,” and we meditate on our desires and holdings, we have to decide wether we truly understand that when Jesus says “ALL,” He means … “ALL!”

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I know You mean it when You say “ALL” to me. I pray I get it. 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, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September 16, 2014 … My Sanctuary

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 259

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a video of a worship service with the congregation singing Sanctuary praying for God to prepare all believers to become a living sanctuary of prayer and worship


Highlight Passage: Psalms 27: 7-8 [NKJV} … David - A man after God’s own heart in prayer …
  7  Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. 
  8  When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Psalms 27: 7-14 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: 1st Chronicles 28: 9… [NKJV] … King David’s instructions to his son, Solomon, including exhortation to search for the mind/heart of God …
  9 “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. … “

Reference Passage #2: Romans 8: 26-27; 12: 1-2… [NKJV] GO TO THIS LINK Our search of the sanctuary of God can lead to our become a living sacrifice of worship

Reference Passage #3: 1st Thessalonians 5: 16-18… [NKJV] … 
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. … 
Prayer is our passion - 24/7 - for the presence of God.

Reference Passage #4: Philippians 4: 6-8… [NKJV] GO TO THIS LINK We become a living sacrifice - a sanctuary - of worship when we can set aide the world and dwell continually on those thoughts which honor God

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Anne Cetas, took readers back to examine what our lives would be like if we could become sanctuaries of worship, i.e., “living sacrifices” i- n the words of the Apostle Paul (see Romans 12: 1-2 - a passage we all should internalize).

 The Author’s highlight passage came from one of King David’s Psalms (see the link above for study and mediation), where David was likely reflecting on the times when he was either on the run from Saul or from his own son, Absalom. … We know David was referred in Scripture as a “man after God’s own heart” [see 1st Samuel 13: 14]; and we know from the Psalms that David was a man who had a passion for the presence of God, continually seejubg after that relationship through prayer. But how and when did David become such a living sanctuary of prayer as the attached photo and linked song declare?

 Well, I believe that David’s prayer life was forged out in the wilderness while, as a boy, he was watching over his father’s sheep as the primary family shepherd. And we know that as a boy in that lonely and dangerous wilderness, David forged a deep/abiding faith in God, … strong enough to fight off lions/bears as a shepherd and to defeat Goliath in battle. David had become a “living sanctuary” and the definition of the type of “living sacrifice and worship” which Paul wrote about in the New Testament (see Paul’s writings copied/linked above).

 So how do we, with our deceit-ridden hearts (see Jeremiah 17:9) become the living sacrifice, modeled by David in the OT or Paul in the NT? Well, we do what David and Paul did. … They became what they modeled and preached, … by consciously pursuing a deep and abiding relationship with God, primarily by the way they thought and the decisions they made from those thoughts.

 To me, prayer (especially the prayer called for in 1st Thessalonians 5: 17) is an attitude even more than one stopping to pray all day (i.e., “continually). So, being a living sanctuary of prayer/worship is - to me - a passion for the presence of God; and that is what David and Paul became, … living lives of sacrifice for their Lord.

 Were they perfect in this? … We know they weren’t (e.g., David’s failure with Bathsheba and Paul’s declared weaknesses described in Romans 7). But their minds and lives were primarily in pursuit of God’s own heart; and in that pursuit they became sanctuaries of living worship for their Lord. And that should always be our passion and pursuit as well.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I am here today doing all I can to become a living sanctuary of worship for You. Amen Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014 … WHAT IF?

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 258

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a video of Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly singing Beauty For Ashes reminding us what God can do when we’re willing to surrender to His love and mercy and let him uproot the bitterness in our lives and turn it into His love and our darkness into His light.

To see a larger view of the photo - click on it - 
and then on the "X" to return to blog 

Highlight Passage: Genesis 16: 5 [NKJV} … God’s promise through Isaiah …
  5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The Lord judge between you and me.”
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Genesis 16: 1-6; 12: 8-13 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: Matthew 5: 16… [NKJV] … God shows us what can happen when let His love shine through our lives rather than let our roots of bitterness dispel his love in our lives …
  16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Reference Passage #2: Ephesians 4: 17-32… [NKJV] GO TO THIS LINK What we could be … IF … we could lay aside all bitterness and take up and wear God’s forgiveness

Reference Passage #3: Colossians 3: 1-11… [NKJV] GO TO THIS LINK Cutting out the root of carnality from our lives and putting on the new man

Reference Passage #4: Hebrews 12: 12-17… [NKJV] GO TO THIS LINK  Especially noting the exhortation of verses 14-15 which proclaims we “pursue peace” and avoid letting “any root of bitterness” from growing deep into the soil of our lives …

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Marion Stroud, took his readers to a lesson from history and the results of bitterness when it’s roots are allowed to grow deep without being uprooted and replanted with God’s balm of love, mercy, and forgiveness. It’s the story of when Sarai’s and Hagar’s mutual bitterness could not be replaced with God’s love and where it has led us - even today with what we see still festering in the Middle East.

 And oh how how true Sarai’s proclamation became prophetic reality when she said, in today’s highlight verse ”The Lord judge between you and me.” And we now see the results of that root of bitterness … with Arabs hating and killing Jews and Muslims slaughtering Christians and other Muslims. Oh, how interesting - yet fruitless I’m afraid - to speculate “WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN” … IF … Sarai and Hagar could have parted and sought God’s balm of love to replace their mutual and carnal root of bitterness … which grew between their progeny throughout history.

  WHAT IF … in the fulfillment of the New Covenant, however, we could have seen the results of the proclamations of truth as exposed by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6: 16, or the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the church in the Eph. 5 and Col. 3 passages copied above, or from the Author of Hebrews when God wrote, through him, for us to avoid a root of bitterness in our lives (see Heb. 12 linked above)?

  WHAT IF … we could - and we can! - dig up any root of bitterness we might hold in our hearts and replace it with the Lord’s roots of love, mercy, and forgiveness, which have certainly been amply doled out on the cross and from the power of love from Christ’s resurrection?

  WHAT IF … you or I were able to forgive any/all who have wronged us and have led our very carnal feelings of anger to become roots of bitterness, as pictured in the attached photo?

 Would our lives be any different … IF … we tore out any such roots of bitterness and allowed God’s balm of Gilead to soothe our soul … where we could replace those roots of bitterness and darkness with God’s love and peace, allowing us to shine His light into the world rather than letting the darkness consume us?

 Well, I believe my WHAT IF speculations could be replaced by the loving truth which Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly sing about in today’s song, linked above. We could experience God’s beauty for the ashes of our humanity … IF … we could cut out any roots of bitterness in our lives and live in the light of God’s love.

 So … WHAT IF?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, thank You for allowing me to set aside any past anger and bitterness and giving me 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, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 14, 2014 … Jesus and the Kids

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 257

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a video of the Glasgow High School choir singing Charles Wesley’s hymn, written in 1742 - Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild - extolling the heart of a child to be like that of Jesus.


Highlight Passage: Matthew 18: 2-3 [NKJV} … God’s promise through Isaiah …
  2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. …” 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Matthew 18: 1-10 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: Matthew 11: 28-29 … [NKJV] … Jesus in describing Himself for any of His children [i.e., disciples]…
  28 “… Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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: Matthew 19: 13-15 … [NKJV] Oh how Jesus loved the kids …
  13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David McCasland, took his readers - including myself - back to the reminder, from Matthew’s Gospel, of Jesus’ attitude toward children. Jesus obviously loved kids; and they obviously flocked to Him; and in His teaching on God’s kingdom, the children w\ho came to Him (see the Matthew 18 & 19 passages copied above) became examples of the attitude it takes to enter Heaven.

I don’t think I’m being lazy here by my ending this journal entry with these question:
... Do we have the attitude of those kids who jumped in Jesus’ lap in those passages quoted by Matthew? 
… And are we doing all we can to make sure others come to our Lord in the same way?

Please take the time to listen to that classic old hymn, linked above, written by Charles Wesley in the 18th century, which describes the attitude of a child in coming to know Jesus as Lord. And then let’s ask ourselves ...
Is that my attitude toward my Savior? 

 And how I pray we answer a resounding “YES!” to all of these questions.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I am Your child - 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, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

September 13, 2014 … Into the Sea of Forgetfulness

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 256

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a video of Helen Baylor singing her soulful song - Sea Of Forgetfulness - reminding all those who’ve put their faith in the saving grace of Jesus’ favor on the cross, that our sins have been set aside, as far as the east is from the west, … into God’s sea of forgetfulness.


Highlight Passage: Isaiah 43: 25 [NKJV} … God’s promise through Isaiah …
  25  “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Isaiah 43: 22-28 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK

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Reference Passage #1: Psalm 103: 11-18… [NKJV] …GO TO THIS LINK  especially remembering verse 12 …
 12  As far as the east is from the west,
 so far has He removed our transgressions from us. 

Reference Passage #2: Micah 7: 19… [NKJV] … God’s wonderful prophesy …
  19 He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea. 

Reference Passage #3: 1st John 1: 9 … [NKJV] GO TO THIS LINK … Can we believe it … I pray so!! ...
  9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David Roper, reminds any who read and mediate here today of the extent to which God was and is willing to eradicate the sinfulness of the faithful remnant who are willing - in faith - to receive the Lord’s saving grace.

 So, every now and again - and that’s in my time with God this morning - I need to be reminded of God’s promises - and His reality - when He was dying on that cross; and just before His soul was cast into His Father’s hand, He declared, “It is finished!” … AND IT IS … FOREVER!!

 And I pray you take the time to revel this day in the truth of the attached photo … that the sins of the faithful are, as the Prophet Isaiah declared in today’s OBD highlight verse, “remembered no more.” … No, … they have been cast as far as “the east is from the west,” [see Psalm 103: 12] and “into the depths of the sea,” [see Micah 7: 19] or, as Helen Baylor sings in today’s devotional song, … into “the sea of forgetfulness.”

 Dear one, … do we know this? Do we really believe it? … Because if we do, and each time we can - in consciousness - confess our sins [see 1st John 1: 9], God cleanses us from ALL our sins and cast those sins into His sea of forgetfulness. … Now in my humanity, I don’t think I can fully comprehend this truth. But I’m here today believing it and reveling in it’s reality; … and all I can say [and very loudly!!!] is … HALLELUJAH!!! 

PS: … BTW … for all who know my testimony of “13s” … did you note what date this is. Yeah, all the big stuff happens to me on the “13th” of a month. So join me in praising the Lord for His reminder of truth today!  <'wrb>< 

My Prayer for Today … Lord, You are so merciful to forget my sins - 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, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Friday, September 12, 2014

September 12, 2014 … Facing the Giants

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 255

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a video of organ music and lyrics to Charles Wesley’s hymn Father of Jesus Christ, My Lord, which strongly proclaims that our relationship with Christ provides us wit the power to overcome all enemies. … And THEN TO THIS LINK  to view a 90 minute movie of the life story of Dennis Jernigan, whose testimony can help anyone who has been oppressed by personal “Goliaths.”


Highlight Passage: 1st Samuel 17: 37 [NKJV} … David’s confidence in His God to defeat Goliath …
  37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”
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Highlight Context - NKJV: 1st Samuel 17: 31-37 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: 2nd Corinthians 12:9 … [NKJV] …
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  

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

Reference Passage #3: 1st John 4: 1-6 … [NKJV] ... GO TO THIS LINK Especially note verse 4 -
...    4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Poh Fang Chia, opens with a very familiar Bible story - that of David confronting his Goliath; and Chia predictably uses the story to reference the “Goliaths” we all face in life as Christians.

 Perhaps, today, like most of us, the world is presenting itself as a “GOLIATH,” trying to get us to wilt under the stature of its intimidating presence and fierce rhetoric. Maybe, you’ve been beaten down by past wounds to think that you’re worthless and have no real importance in this world. … Perhaps, like Dennis Jernigan, in the movie [linked above] which came to my attention by God’s timing yesterday, there are those who believe - by the intimidation of the so-called “gay lobby” in the world, that they were born gay and will always be gay. … Maybe the intimidation of radical Islamic terrorists, which we thought about yesterday on 9/11, has many thinking that we must cower to its tactics of terror. … And I think of many young people these days, who are totally intimidated by the bullying tactics and sexting extortion of their fellow classmates.

 Yes, we all confront “GOLIATHS” in our lives, don’t we? And these forces of evil can be just as intimidating as was the original Philistine, Goliath, was for the Israelites under Saul’s command [see the 1st Samuel passage above]. But for Saul and God’s army, David showed up and actually believed that this Goliath didn’t stand a chance against his LORD. David, even as a young lad, actually believed what Paul had to learn in 2nd Corinthians 12: 9 and what the Apostle John taught in 1st John 4: 4 … that we serve a God Who is always greater than the “GOLIATHS” we face in life.

 What is your GOLIATH? Are you combatting a father wound, having been beaten down to believe that you’re worthless? … Have you come to fall prey to the lies that if you have same-sex desires that you were born “gay?” … Are you captive and bound up by some addiction in your life, believing that God could never give you the strength to overcome these demons? … Maybe you’re like many young people today, who are thinking that suicide would be better than to face up to bullies who would do all they can to make one feel unwanted, alone, or worthless.

 I don’t know what your GOLIATH might be, dear one. But whatever or whoever it might be, I pray we take in the truths above today, and BELIEVE - as did young David - that our God is greater than any Goliath. And if you can carve out 90 minutes from your life, I would exhort you to use the link above and watch the testimonial movie of Dennis Jernigan, the well-known Christian music artist, who was close to suicide in his college days, believing the lie that he was “born gay,” and living for several years captive to that lifestyle. Well, you may know some of Dennis’ story, now that he and his wife have nine (count them, NINE) children;. Dennis J came to die to himself (see Galatians 2: 20) and was reborn with Christ’s strength to overcome his goliath.

 So, now, … let’s go out and believe that we have a God who will help us defeat any “GOLIATH” in our life.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, You are my power to overcome! 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, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11, 2014 … Reborn to Serve

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 254

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see a video of Marty Goetz singing his modern psalm Heneni, which tells the story of those who are re-born by God to serve Him.


Highlight Passage: Mark 10: 45 [NKJV} … Jesus - Born to serve …
  45 “… For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Mark 10: 35-45 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: Isaiah 6: 5-8 … [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK …   Here is the story of Isaiah, the Prophet, who was reborn and sent to serve The Lord

Reference Passage #2: Matthew 28: 18-20 … [NKJV] ... GO TO THIS LINK  Christ’s charge to all those who are reborn in Him - to go and serve Him …

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

Reference Passage #4: Galatians 5: 16-26 … [NKJV] ...  GO TO THIS LINK Paul teaches that Christians are to walk in the Spirit, using the fruit of the Spirit to serve the Lord.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dennis Fisher, opens with an interesting word picture to illustrate what reborn Christians become in their relationship with Christ. Fisher tells of service dogs, who are born and bred to provide service to their Masters (see attached photo). Some are seeing-eye dogs; … yet others are trained to smell when their master needs insulin; … or others serve the needs of the physically challenged (as in the photo). But in that illustration, we Christians should see that we were “reborn to serve.”

 Today’s OBD highlight Bible passage (see Mark 10: 35-45 linked above) tells of two of Jesus’ inner 12 disciples, James and John, learning of THE ONE Who was truly “born to serve;” and in this passage, we also see Jesus teaching His followers (that’s me too) that in our faith in our Lord we are reborn to serve Him in our lives as His disciples. That’s what Isaiah came to learn when he surrendered his life to his Lord (see the Isaiah 6 passage above). It’s what Jesus commanded His disciples as He was raised to return to His Father in Heaven (see the “Great Commission” passage linked above). And it’s what the Apostle Paul was teaching the early church - i.e., that we are reborn in newness of Spirit to use His fruit to serve others; and in doing so to serve our Lord [see the 2Cor. 5 and Gal. 5 passages above].

 Today’s devotional song, linked above, is one of my favorites, … Marty Goetz, a born-again Messianic Jew, singing about those who surrendered to God’s call of service, … those like Isaiah, or Jesus’ early church disciples, or those, like you and me, who realize the seriousness of Christ’s great commission, … TO GO … in our lives, with the gifts and fruit we’ve been given by God’s Spirit … and TO SERVE our Lord for His glory.

 Where/how will we do that today?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I pray that any reading here with me today answer our Lord’s call to service … yes, even today; … and we go forth as called ones in Christ. 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, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.