Friday, October 31, 2014

October 31, 2014 … Loved Anyway

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 304

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in the lyrics and hear the group, Hillsong, singing the powerful song Amazing Love. especially with YouTube images reminding all who are saved by God’s amazing love and saving grace just how powerful that love was on that cross for a sinner like me.


Highlight Passage - NKJV Romans 5: 8
  8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Romans 5: 1-8 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  In spite of our sin [see Romans 3: 23] God loved us us anyway [see John 3: 16]

Reference Passage #1… 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13 — GO TO THIS LINK   … Could the essence of unconditional love (i.e., agape love) be more clearly defined?

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Bill Crowder, brought to me (and his readers) a poignant and pertinent reminder of what God’s love is all about; and he brings that reminder on a pagan holiday which does nothing but celebrate anti-love. On Halloween mankind wears masks to hide who we are; and we actually elevate our “trick-or-treat” culture to celebrate selfishness.

 Yet, God’s love is the antithesis of halloween, isn’t it? And there’s little I could write here, except my remembrance of what is revealed in what I’ve copied and linked above for our study and meditation. Every so often, … especially on days like halloween, … we need to stop and remember just how far God’s love - the ultimate in unconditional love - went to save us sinners.

 In spite of me, my Lord died ignominiously to save me. He knew me, yet He loved me anyway!! Yes, that is the love which Paul wrote about, inspired by God, in the love chapter of 1st Corinthians 13. It’s the essence of what Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3: 16 (which I’m sure you know by heart and don’t need my copy/paste above).

 The question before me (and you reading here) is are we choosing to live an agape-laden life? Are we choosing to love anyway as Christ’s life modeled and He preached on that hillside sermon over 2000 years ago [see Matthew, Chapters 5-7]? It’s good here on halloween to stop and pray that I will choose to love others as God loved me today.

My Prayer for Today … Lord; … help me to love others anyway as You loved me anyway! … 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, October 30, 2014

October 30, 2014 … Gospel Megaphones

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 303

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in the lyrics and hear Steve Green singing the powerful song Find Us Faithful. loudly and clearly proclaiming what should be the reality of our lives as Christians, living faithfully in and for our Lord


Highlight Passage - NKJV 2nd Corinthians 4: 7
  7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
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Highlight Context - NKJV: 2nd Corinthians 3: 17 - 4: 7 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK   Paul’s exhortation for Christians to become vessels for the Gospel

Reference Passage #1… Acts 17: 16-34 — GO TO THIS LINK   … Paul clearly proclaims the Gospel to the Greeks on Mars Hill

Reference Passage #2… Ephesians 4: 1-3 — GO TO THIS LINK  … Paul to Christians about living to proclaim the Gospel of Christ

Reference Passage #3… 1st Thessalonians 3: 10-13  … Paul to Christians about living to proclaim the Gospel of Christ

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David McCasland, illustrates a principle from Pauline teaching about how Christians should become “megaphones” for the Gospel in this world. And McCasland uses a modern invention which uses an old principle to get this point across.

 Christopher Locke has developed and old idea to amplify the sound of modern smart phones so that the music they play can be magnified by old instruments in a work of art. He buys old trumpets, trombones, and other horned instruments; and as can be seen in the attached photo, Locke turns the horns into works of art which amplify the music from a smartphone to play the music with sound quality even better than the electronic speaker systems which are sold these days to do the same thing.

 And the Apostle Paul, in the highlight and reference passages above, was trying to get Christians of his day to do much the same thing with the Gospel message of Christ. He wanted Christians to let their lives to loudly and clearly proclaim the message of the gospel as they lived out their transformed lives for Christ. Certainly that’s what Paul modeled himself as he was a megaphone for Christ, speaking clearly and loudly to those who heard him preaching the Gospel to the Greeks on Mars Hill in Athens [see Acts 17: 16-34 linked above] and everywhere he went on his missionary journeys.

 In other words, we should become clear and resounding “megaphones” for the Gospel as we live, move and have our being in this world. And if you take in the images and messages from God’s word copied/linked above, I think you’ll be more convicted than ever that our lives, which have been (should have been) transformed by God’s Spirit, should be megaphones for the gospel of Christ.

My Prayer for Today … Lord; … may we live to proclaim You loudly into the din of evil which is this world. … 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, October 29, 2014

October 29, 2014 … Under Wings of Protection

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 302

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing the praises of our protecting God in their song All Is Well. declaring the reality of our God Who is ALWAYS there to spread His wings of protection over His children


Highlight Passage - NKJV Jeremiah 42: 6
  6 “… Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.” 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Jeremiah 42: 1-12 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK God’s people surrender to God’s will as prophesied by Jeremiah

Reference Passage #1… Deuteronomy 31: 6; 31: 8 — GO TO THIS LINK   … God is ALWAYS with us … even ahead of us

Reference Passage #2… Psalms 17: 8; 36: 7; 62: 4; 91: 4 — GO TO THIS LINK   … Often God through the psalmists used the picture of protecting His children as a bird protects her nestlings - see attached photo

Reference Passage #3 … Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] - A passage I pray you have memorized and internalized …
  5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 

Reference Passage #4… Romans 8: 28 … Truth; but do we really believe it?
28 And we know that ALL THINGS work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Mart De Haan, took his readers (me) to the times and prophesies of Jeremiah when the remnant of believers in Jerusalem, threatened by Babylon, yielded to God’s prophesies and protection in a time of peril; and God promised them mercy for their repentance and surrender.

 And the word picture that God’s word often used for the Lord’s protective covering, especially from the psalmists, was the wings of a mother bird covering her new born chicks (see the attached photo and the reference passages from the Psalms linked above).

 There are times in our lives when we come into very challenging times, as God’s people did in the times of Jeremiah. But as the Apostle Paul preached to the church in Romans 8: 28, ALL THINGS do, in truth, work together FOR GOOD to those who love the Lord and are willing to follow His ways [see my oft repeated verse in Luke 9: 23]. The question always is whether we really believe that truth, as well as the pronouncements of Moses in Deuteronomy 31: 6, 8 [linked above]. 

Personally, there have been times in my life when I looked for God’s protection in all the wrong places, including trying to handle life on my own; but when I finally came to rest in the truth of the passages above, I came to feel as do those baby birds covered by the wings of the mama bird in the attached photo.

My Prayer for Today … Cover us, Lord; … we need your protective wings. … 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, October 28, 2014

October 28, 2014 … Surrendered Living

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 301

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear the group Avalon singing the poignant and pertinent song Everything To Me. declaring the heavenly value of living for Jesus … in that HE is everything to us … And THEN TO THIS LINK to hear the Vineyard fellowship singing what I desire always - I Surrender All


Highlight Passage - NKJV Ecclesiastes 5: 16
  16 And this also is a severe evil — Just exactly as he came, so shall he go. And what profit has he who has labored for the wind? 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Ecclesiastes 5: 8-17 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Solomon on the righteousness of honest labor

Reference Passage #1… Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14 — GO TO THIS LINK  … Solomon’s conclusion on living out one’s life

Reference Passage #2 … Matthew 5: 3 [NKJV] - Jesus teaches on the value of pursuing life in humility …
  3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, … for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Reference Passage #3… Matthew 19: 21 [NKJV] … Jesus to the young rich men, lost in his pursuit of riches ...
21 Jesus said to him [i.e., the rich, young ruler], “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 

Reference Passage #4… Romans 12: 1-2 — GO TO THIS LINK   … Paul teaching on living as living sacrifices and avoiding the worldly ways which tear away from and tempt our souls

Reference Passage #5… Colossians 3: 1-4 — GO TO THIS LINK   … Paul teaching Christians about setting our sights on the Heavenly rather than the earthly

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Jennifer Benson Schuldt, took her readers (me) back to the book of Ecclesiastes, which is a very pertinent study of a King’s repentant attitude after having lived his life, going against much of what he had journaled in the book of Proverbs, which was written much earlier in his life.

 Solomon had lived out his life in the opulence of kingly, worldly living; and he discovered that it all was vanity and worthless when it comes to what God values from His children [see Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14]. I’m not going to write much here. It would vanity to try to expound on what God brings to us through the truths, either copied or linked above. So, I merely ask any reader here to take in the attached photo, the linked songs above, and all of God’s declarations about His values; and then do your own self inventory, … as I am now.

I, personally, am heartened that I’ve come a long way from the time God’s grace saved me when I surrendered to the Lordship of Christ; but when I take in God’s exhortations above, I’ve still got some more surrendering to bring me to the place of Romans 12: 1-2 Yet, it TRULY is my belief that Jesus is my ALL IN ALL; and it is HIS VALUES which I pursue.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … I do surrender all. … Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, 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, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014 … Relentless Pursuit

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 300

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear Phillips, Craig , and Dean singing on of my favorite songs ... He’ll Do Whatever It Takes. declaring the truth of a Savior Who will do whatever it takes to pursue, find, and bring one of His wayward lambs back to God's flock. … And THEN ON THIS LINK where you’ll hear the group, Avalon, singing the song Orphans of God declaring the intent of God to bring all Who have been orphans of the world to come back into the family of God


Highlight Passage - NKJV Luke 15: 7
  7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Luke 15: 1-7 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep

Reference Passage #1 … Isaiah 53: 6 [NKJV] - The Prophet declares the reality of a Messiah who will take the sins of mankind on His shoulders and bring His lost sheep back into the family of God …
  6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 

Reference Passage #2… Luke 15: 8-10 — GO TO THIS LINK   … Parable of the lost coin

Reference Passage #2… Luke 15: 11-32 — GO TO THIS LINK   … Parable of the lost son

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dave Branon, told a story of a group of kids on a missionary trip who visited an orphanage while one of the young boys had been claimed by new parents. And they gathered as the new parents arrived for the boy and had a celebration, singing a song of joy as the boy was “claimed” and hugged by his new parents. And one of the missionary kids commented that this is what it must be like in heaven when a newly saved child of God is re-ushered into the family of God.

 If you’ve been a “lost sheep,” as I was until age 39, you have to rejoice when reading the three stories in Luke, Chapter 15 [all three linked above] of our relentless pursuer Who, as it is sung in the linked song above, will Do Whatever It Takes to seek out, rescue, and bring back one of His lost sheep back into God’s sovereign flock. And in each of those parables from Luke 15, we note that there is a celebration in the kingdom of God when God pursues, finds, and rescues one of His flock. 

And I know that on April 13th, 1983, there was a wild party in heaven because one of God’s most recalcitrant lambs [yes, yours truly] was broken down to a place where I could repent and open my heart to my relentless Pursuer … the Spirit of God. It’s a long story, too long to relate here; but I had been one of the Good Shepherd’s wayward sheep for years; and He led me through one messy journey before He reached into the life of one of His most wayward sons and rescued me from a life of degradation and personal selfishness. And on that April 13th the angels no doubt had a party when I surrendered to my Lord’s pursuit. And I was adopted into the family of God.

 If you’ve been one of those wayward sheep, running from the Prodigal Father, it’s time to look for Him running to greet you with open arms. It’s time to repent and come back to your Heavenly Father, Who wants to celebrate your coming home to Him.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Hug me again today, my Father.

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, October 26, 2014

October 26, 2014 … Sing Our Praises

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 299

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear the group Hillsong, leading in worship, singing Sing to The Lord. declaring the plea of the psalmist in Psalm 98 to sing as the angels do - “Holy is our God!!” …. We are to lift our voice in music and song, shouting for joy and singing our praises to God … “Great is our God!!”


Highlight Passage - NKJV Psalm 98: 4
  4 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Psalms 98 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Sing a new song to the Lord !! …

Reference Passage #1… Psalms 13:6; 28:7; 89:1; 96:1-2; and 104: 33-34 — GO TO THIS LINK    … Psalms of singing praises to God for Who He is and what He has done for us

Reference Passage #2… Colossians 3: 1-17 [note verse 16] — GO TO THIS LINK -  … Paul exhorts believers to praise God, not only in word or deed, but by singing of God’s grace

Reference Passage #3 … Hebrews 2: 11-12 [NKJV] - The Author of Hebrews - inspired to praise God from the Psalms …
  11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; … In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” [Ps. 22: 22] 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dennis Fisher, wrote of something that is near and dear to my heart on the subject of worshipping our Lord. Fisher reminded me of how often, certainly in the Old Testament - but also the New - the Authors of Scripture made reference to believers SINGING their praises to God as well as with spoken words or actions.

 Most certainly the entire book of Psalms in the Bible is a song book of praises to God and declarations of worship. And many of the authors of various books of the Bible were psalmists, … Moses, David, Job, and many others, who wrote songs, the lyrics of which, are recorded in the Old Testament. But Paul and the Author of Hebrews declares in their letters how important it was for Christians to worship God in song, even with the accompaniment of instruments.

 Certainly today, musical praises to God have become an entire industry with song writers and contemporary Christian singers raising their songs and voices of praise to our God. And as you know, if you’ve followed my journaling here, every day I find a song, or sometimes two, which illustrate the subject matter of my blogging; and prayerfully praise God by helping me and my readers to be in a mind-set of worship to God.

 For over 35 years I was on the faculty of the Department of Neurology and the University of Tennessee for the Health Sciences; and I know from study that the brain is either activated or pacified by music with meaningful lyrics. The lyrics are interpreted by the left side of the brain and the music (i.e., rhythms and melodies) activate the right brain. So, when we hear a meaningful lyric, accompanied by a pleasing melody with instruments, our entire brain is either activated or pacified by the song being sung. That’s why I try to have a song to bring my readers here to a state of full-brain awareness before the reader might read what I’m writing.

 So, if you’re reading with me daily here, expect your brain to be turned on by some praise worthy song or songs each day. And may we, who love or Lord, sing to Him every day with our songs of praise and worship.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … I worship You with song and music every day!! … Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, 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, October 25, 2014

October 25, 2014 … Prayer First

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 298

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please, PLEASE, PLEASE take the time to see/hear Twila Paris and Dennis Jernigen singing Dennis’s song On My Knees. praying in song a truth all Christians need to embrace … that we need to be on our knees WAY MORE than we do … PLEASE … Don’t go on reading here without taking in this poignant, powerful, and pertinent song.


Highlight Passage - NKJV Philippians 4: 6-7
  6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Philippians 4: 4-9 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Paul counsels his Christian loved ones to avoid anxiety by prayer …

Reference Passage #1 … Isaiah 23: 6 [NKJV] - God, through the Prophet, advises an attitude of prayer to find peace in this world
6 “… You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

Reference Passage #2… Matthew 6: 6, 33 [see attached picture] — GO TO THIS LINK  … Jesus certainly preached for His disciples to pray often in secret and seek HIS way FIRST

Reference Passage #3 … 1st Thessalonians 5: 16-18 [NKJV] … Paul gives exhortation to priority disciplines for Christians - important among them - PRAYER …
  16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

Reference Passage #4… James 5: 13-16 — GO TO THIS LINK   … James counsels going to the Elders in the church for healing prayer

Reference Passage #5 … 1st Peter 5: 7 [NKJV] - Inspired by God, Peter counsels to bring ALL THINGS to God in prayer …
  Casting all your cares on Him (God) because He cares for you. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Cindy Hess Casper, zings her readers with a strong truth; … that we Christians have a tendency in our laxness to wait until a time of crisis to pray. However, if one takes in, and meditates on, the scriptures Casper uses in her ODB devotional, as well as those which came into my study today from multiple authors, we should see that we should be using the faith discipline of prayer FIRST … and ALWAYS.

 The OT Prophet, Isaiah, from God exhorted believers to keep their focus (in prayer, I believe) on God so that we can receive peace from the Lord. Above in His sermon on the mount [see Matthew 6 passage], Jesus certainly taught about prayer and that His kingdom values should come FIRST. The Apostle Paul, in today’s ODB highlight passage, as well as his letter to the Thessalonians, exhorts Christians to avoid anxiety by praying to the Lord in ALL matters, big and small. The Apostle Peter chides believers to cast ALL our cares on God, recognizing that our Lord cares deeply for us. And James, the brother of Jesus, writes in God’s word to take our healing needs to righteous men of prayer (i.e., the Elders of the Church) so that our sins may be forgiven and we may be healed … physically, emotionally, AND spiritually.

 The question is … are we doing what God exhorts and directs through these Biblical writers? I’m afraid I’m under severe conviction about my prayer life from today’s quiet time with God.
>> Prayer first? … Not often enough! 
>>  Prayer in ALL things? … Not often enough! 
>>  Prayer from my Elders? … WAY not often enough!! 
DUH!!! … I sense a pattern of conviction here.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Forgive me for holding on to my anxieties far too long before bringing them to You. Help me to bring ALL my cares to You - FIRST - because You certainly care DEEPLY for me. PLEASE help all who read here to do the same. … 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, October 24, 2014

October 24, 2014 … Others First

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 297

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear the group, Newsong, singing For Goodness’ Sake. reminding Christians that our lives are to reach out and follow Christ … to be HIM for others

 

Highlight Passage - NKJV Titus 3: 1-2
  1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Titus 3: 1-7 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Paul counsels Titus on exemplifying Christlike grace …

Reference Passage #1 … Matthew 7: 7-12 — GO TO THIS LINK -   Jesus on the “Golden Rule” - see verse 12

Reference Passage #2 … Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] - Jesus on what discipleship is all about … dying to self, living for others [i.e., “taking up our cross daily”] … as we follow Christ
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 13: 34-35 [NKJV] - Jesus … on loving others first … which is His way for His disciples to live in/for Him
  34 “… A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” 

Reference Passage #4 … Philippians 2: 3-5 — GO TO THIS LINK -   Paul on Christlike living … for others’ first

Reference Passage #5 … Galatians 6: 7-10 — GO TO THIS LINK -  No weariness in going good to/for others

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Poh Fang Chia, tells a story about the island of Singapore which is extremely densely populated. And the Singapore residents have developed a culture of consideration of others … because living for others before self is necessary for the well being of all on that tiny island.

 This morning’s ODB devotional was quite convicting to me because the author used the Apostle Paul’s mentoring of his protege, Titus, to remind me (and all Christians) that Christ taught and expected his disciples (not just the 12) to live for others first, with teachers and ministers of the Gospel (that’s me) to be held to a high standard of sharing God’s love. That was Christ’s message in the Sermon on the Mount; and he walked-the-walk of that lesson as he mentored His disciples, who, after his resurrection went out and spread that “culture of consideration” all over the known world at the early days of the Church.

 So, I will pray for me … but for you too … that we all reach out and BE CHRIST today for someone else in our lives.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Help me to show YOU to someone else today by the way I show Your love for them. … 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, October 23, 2014

October 23, 2014 … Clean Out the Closet

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 296

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear a video Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly singing Beauty For Ashes. reminding Christians that God’s forgiveness cleanses of all the ugliness of our sins.

Click on photo to read text
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Highlight Passage - NKJV Psalm 139: 23-24
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Psalm 139 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  David’s song of a life forgiven …

Reference Passage #1 … 2nd Samuel 12: 1-14 — GO TO THIS LINK   … David is confronted with his messy closet

Reference Passage #2 … Psalms 51: 1-4 — GO TO THIS LINK   … David cleans out his closet

Reference Passage #3 … Psalm 32 — GO TO THIS LINK   … David on the joy of forgiveness and cleansing

Reference Passage #4 … 1st John 1: 5-10 — GO TO THIS LINK   … Total integrity is a clean closet - NOTE verse 9 …

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Joe Stowell, begins with a story from Stowell’s youth, one to which I identify personally. He wrote - “To this day I can still hear my mother telling me to go and clean up my room. Dutifully, I would go to my room to start the process, only to get distracted by reading the comic book that I was supposed to put neatly in the stack. But soon the distraction was interrupted by my mother warning that she would be up in 5 minutes to inspect the room. Unable to effectively clean the room in that time, I would proceed to hide everything I didn’t know what to do with in the closet, make the bed, and then wait for her to come in—hoping that she wouldn’t look in the closet.” 

Maybe you empathize with this word picture of how we can have a closet hidden away in our house of life where we have some of our messy past stashed away. And we hope that some how others won’t open the closet and see our past ugliness. Maybe there are even ugly/dirty things in that closet like some of those depicted in the attached [BEFORE] photo. We even delude ourselves at times, thinking that maybe God doesn’t even know what’s in our messy closet … where we’ve locked away the ugliness from our past.

 King David had one of those closets for a year after he stashed away the ugliness of his infidelity with Bathsheba and his contract murder of her husband. Then, of course, we know the story [see the link to 2nd Samuel 12: 1-14 above] of the Prophet Nathan confronting the King with a parable which “outed” David and brought about the King’s confession (see the link to Psalm 51). David cleaned out his closet of sin and revealed it to all of Israel in a song. And then later [see link to Psalm 32] we read David’s song of forgiveness and deliverance.

 It’s the AFTER depicted in the attached photo which also refers to the New Testament teaching of 1st John 1: 9 where the results of confession are emphasized. And we’re willing to be vulnerable (as was David in Psalm 32) and show how God can clean out our closet from our past ugliness and give us a clean, new start.

 I think the picture today, the song of “Beauty From Ashes,” and the Scriptures linked above tell the whole story of how God sees all we have hidden in our messy closet of past sins; and He has, via Christ’s atonement on the cross, given us the ability to confess and clean out our closet, never having to hide it again. In fact, we can even be spiritually proud of how God has cleansed us of our sins so that we can open up the door to our closet and show all of what God has done.

 I pray that all who read here have let God clean out their closet of sin and we’re all willing to fling open the door to that closet for all to see God’s handiwork of mercy, grace, and cleansing in our lives.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Thank You for cleaning out my closet and giving me a clean, new start. Now, I’ll do all I can to keep my closet neat and clean - 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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 22, 2014 … No Where To Hide

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 295

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear a video with a group of children singing one of the simplest, but most profound, songs about our Lord, Jesus Loves Me. Go to the link and sing along with the chorus. … “Yes, Jesus loves me … ” And aren’t you grateful !!! 


Highlight Passage: 1st Chronicles 28: 9 [NKJV} …
  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. … “ 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: 1st Chronicles 28: 6-10 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK David charges his son, Solomon, to build God’s Temple …

Reference Passage #1 … Deuteronomy 6: 1-5 — GO TO THIS LINK   … Declared by Jesus to be God’s greatest commandment - meditate on verse 5!!

Reference Passage #2 … Psalm 139: 7-12 — GO TO THIS LINK   … No where to go to hide from God’s love, mercy, and grace.

Reference Passage #3 … Romans 8: 38-39 — GO TO THIS LINK  … Nothing can separate us from the love of God … except our own free will

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David Roper, related a story of a friend of his who had descended into the darkness of dementia. Yet, in rare moments of lucidity, in a nursing care facility, he would try to introduce anyone around him, in that moment of clarity, to his friend, Jesus.

 There are times when we feel totally inept to witness our faith in Christ to others, either because of their conscious rejection or, as with David Roper’s friend, when such a one does not seem to have the mental facility to grasp God’s love. But we can take heart that when we can’t be the agent of breakthrough from darkness to light, … God can!

 I love the simplicity of the song to which I link readers today. It’s children singing the old hymn, Jesus Loves Me; and God’s love is so simple a little child can grasp it. And even when we can’t seem to break through the intellectual logic of an atheist or to be able to penetrate the consciousness of one in a coma or in the darkness of dementia, we need to rest in the truth of the scriptures to which I link readers above.

 So, if you have a loved-one or a friend whom you think is running from Jesus or maybe is engulfed in a fog of dementia or coma, keep praying. My wife and I witnessed her mother being saved by God’s Spirit when she couldn’t hold on to a thought for more than a few seconds, deeply engulfed in the darkness of dementia. I have dear loved ones who don’t seem to want to hear about Christ. But I take heart, knowing that there’s no where my loved ones can hide from my Lord. And there’s nothing which can separate them from God’s love.

 So, I’ll just keep praying for God to shine His light into their hearts and bring them from the darkness of death into the light of eternal life.

"Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Bring Your light into the hearts of my loved ones who are lost in the darkness of self 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, 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, October 21, 2014

October 21, 2014 - Helping the Lost

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 294

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear a video with Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing one of their most powerful songs, He’ll Do Whatever It Takes, a song I use often in my journaling to illustrate what the attached photo depicts - that Jesus came to save the lost, the hurting, the broken - and we are to be like Him, reaching out to those who need His saving grace. … And THEN ON TO THIS LINK  to hear Queen Latifah sing the poignant song, Fix Me Jesus, a truth which we all need from our Lord.


Highlight Passage: Luke 5: 31-32 [NKJV} …
  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: 27-32 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Yes, Jesus came to save even a tax collector …

Reference Passage #1 … Galatians 6: 1-5 — GO TO THIS LINK  … We are charged as Christians to reach out to the selfish sinners in the world - to help them find Jesus or let the Savior fix them (as in the second song above)

Reference Passage #2 … Philippians 2: 3-4 — GO TO THIS LINK   … Paul teaches the essence of Christ - loving the unlovable - helping the broken - leading the lost to our Lord

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Julie Ackerman Link, returned me to a theme I wrote about just a couple of weeks ago (Oct. 15th to be exact - SEE THIS LINK ).

 That ODB was authored by Philip Yancey, who used a parallel passage from Matthew 9 as the one link above uses today from Luke 5 to show how Jesus came to be born of a Virgin and die on a cross to save the lowest of us - sinners … the likes of Matthew, the tax collector. And from the reality of our charge as Christians (see Acts 1: 8 and Matthew 28: 19), we have been commissioned by our Lord to go out and do all we can to witness to our Lord and to make disciples of the lost.

 I’m often asked, out in public, the general question, “How’re you doing?” Or possibly, “How are you?” And long ago a mentor taught me to respond, … “Always better than I deserve.” And very often that answer will solicit an inquiry as to what I mean, which then gives me a chance to witness to others or even to give my testimony of how Jesus saved me - a VERY lost and broken sinner.

 I’m not going to write much more here. You can take in the attached photo, one of my favorites to illustrate Jesus saving the broken in our world. And listen to two of my favorite songs, which remind me of what Jesus did for me. And then meditate on the scriptures linked above, all of which may motivate you, when asked, “How are you;” to use that opportunity to share your Jesus with someone who needs His saving/sanctifying grace today.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Show me someone today, whom I can share how You saved me and even more importantly how You can save them. … 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, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014 … Powerful Words

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 293

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear a video of Graham Kendrick leading in worship and singing his song, Meekness and Majesty, reminding all of the wonder of Jesus as the personification of meekness, yet worthy of all worship … And THEN TO THIS LINK to hear Phillips, Craig, and Dean, singing Let My Words Be Few,  reminding us that when our words are few, but filled with God’s love, they have great power.


Highlight Passage: Proverbs 15: 1-2 [NKJV} …
  1 A soft answer turns away wrath; … But a harsh word stirs up anger. 2  The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly; … But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Proverbs 15: 1-23 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK Words from the wise or foolish have great power …

Reference Passage #1: Isaiah 53: 7 [NKJV]
  7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, … So He opened not His mouth. 

Reference Passage #2 … John, Chapter 18-19 — GO TO THIS LINK   … The account of Jesus fulfilling the prophesy of Isaiah (see Is. 53: 7) of the Messiah being led quietly to his slaughter

Reference Passage #3 … James 3: 1-12 — GO TO THIS LINK   … James writes the wisdom of God concerning the use of the “tongue”

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David McCasland, reminded the OBD readers that World War 1 was begun with a verbal declaration of war by Austria in response to the assassination of the Archduke of Serbia. Just a few words in the declaration of war; yet, millions of lives were lost in response to the few harsh words spoken in the simple declaration. 

Today, the truth declaration of just a few words from God’s Spirit through Solomon from Psalm 15 [see copy/link above] speak to the wisdom of using our words wisely. As Author McCasland writes:  A small comment can start a large fight. When we, by God’s grace, choose not to retaliate with our words, we honor Jesus our Savior. When He was abused and insulted, He fulfilled the prophetic words of Isaiah, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth.” (see Isaiah 53:7).) And we also read in John, Chapters 18-19 (linked above for study) how Jesus so meekly endured those unjust trials and was led to His ignominious death, speaking so few words in His own defense, as He glorious defeated death on Calvary.

 And Jesus’ brother James (see the James 3 passage linked above) wrote about how what we say or write has so much power … power to incite - even wars - or to bring peace. The “tongue” (or the keyboard today in social media) has great power; and today’s highlight passage from Psalm 15: 1-2 applies powerfully to how we use our words … for self or for the Savior.

 We choose our words; and the result my be peril or pacification. So how will we choose to speak [or write] today? My choice is here for you to read; and magnified by the songs to which I link any reader above.

 Now, anyone here must choose their words today. … Choose wisely!!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … May my words reflect Your glory. … Amen

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

October 19, 2014 … A Firm Foundation

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 292

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear a video of Michael Card singing the classic hymn, What A Friend We Have In Jesus, strongly declaring the reality of building our lives on the strong and firm foundation of God’s word and the mighty Son, Jesus!!


Highlight Passage: Matthew 7: 24-25 [NKJV} …
  24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. …” 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Matthew 7: 24-29 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Jesus taught it … we should live it! …

Reference Passage #1: Psalm 11: 3 [NKJV]
  3 If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? 

Reference Passage #2: Proverbs 10: 25 [NKJV]
  25  When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, … but the righteous has an everlasting foundation. 

Reference Passage #3 … Luke 6: 47-49 — GO TO THIS LINK   … Luke’s account of today’s highlight passage in the Sermon on the Mount

Reference Passage #4 … 1st Corinthians 3: 9-17 — GO TO THIS LINK  … Paull taught about Christians being God’s temple which must first be built on the solid Rock of Christ

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Marion Stroud, brought an encouraging reminder to me today. It was encouraging to me because, through the image I sought out, the song, sung by Michael Card, to which I’ve linked my readers today, and the Scriptures which bubbled to the surface of my study today, I realized that I am here in this place today - and you’ll find me here in God’s word daily - to build an every stronger foundation for my relationship with Christ, … Who is my Cornerstone and His word the foundation of my life.

 So, if you’ve taken in the attached photo and listened to the linked hymn and meditated upon the Scriptures linked and copied here today, I don’t need to add any punch lines of motivation, do I? It’s all clear that all Christians need to do diligence to building God’s temple, … i.e., our bodies, minds, and spirits … on the solid rock of our Lord and His word.

 I leave it to you to build your faith temple today.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … It’s on You that I build my life. … Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, 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, October 18, 2014

October 18, 2014 … A Real Friend

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 291

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear a video of an anonymous praise group singing the classic hymn, What A Friend We Have In Jesus, declaring the reality of Jesus’ deep and abiding friendship for all who come to Him in faith as disciples.


Highlight Passage: 1st Samuel 20: 42 [NKJV} …
  42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, since we have both sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘May the Lord be between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants, forever.’” So he arose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.
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Highlight Context - NKJV: 1st Samuel 20: 32-42 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Jonathan and David bonded as friends …

Reference Passage #1: Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10 [NKJV]
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. 10  For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. 

Reference Passage #2 … John 15: 9-17— GO TO THIS LINK   … Especially note verses 13-15 as Jesus declares His friendship for all His disciples

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Jennifer Benson Schuldt, opens with a reflection from the Movie, Shane, which I remembered vividly since I’ve seen the movie several times. She told of the friendship the mysterious stranger, Shane, who was befriended by the western rancher, Joe Starrett. Finally, in a conflict involving his newly adopted “family,” Shane even risked his life for Joe, who had taken him in to his family even as a stranger. It was an image of the type of friendship we all need in others … but seldom find; and it is the type of friendship anyone can have in Jesus, the Christ … forever.

 The relationship we read about in the highlight passage for the day, 1st Samuel 20: 32-42, between the young, anointed king-to-be, David, and the first-born son of King Saul, Jonathan, is one of the great Bible stories illustrating true friendship. Jonathan was slated to become King in the Jewish family tradition as Saul’s first-born. However, his friend, Jesus, was anointed by the prophet as the next king. And then we see Jonathan establishing a covenant bonding in friendship with David, even being willing to die for his friend by protecting him from Jonathan’s father.

 And this deep friendship immediately raised, for the OBD author, the truths expressed in the two reference passages above - from Solomon in Ecclesiastes 4 and from Jesus, Himself, in the John 15 passage. If you’re reading along with me here, please take the time to meditate on those passages and the song linked today - the old hymn, What A Friend We Have In Jesus; and then let’s ask ourselves … #1 … Is Jesus my friend? AND … #2 … Do I have an earthly friendship which reflects the love Jesus has for me as His friend?

 Certainly if we answer “NO” to #1, I would pray you make eternal friends with Jesus. But if you do know Jesus as your friend; and you declare in the negative for #2, today would be the time to begin to seek out and find a friend for whom you would die. It may take time; but the love extended to another in the process of building a true friendship will bring back love you may have never experienced without such a friend.

But above all, realize what a friend we have in Jesus!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Thank You for being my friend. … 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, October 17, 2014

October 17, 2014 … From Sneaker to Seeker

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 290

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear a video of Sara Groves singing one of her best songs, It’s Going To Be Alright, declaring the truth that we don’t ever need to run from God in fear because with God, all will be okay!


Highlight Passage: Jonah 2: 1-2 [NKJV} …
  1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly. 2 And he said: “I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, … And He answered me. “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice.” 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Jonah 1:1-2:2 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Jonah prays for deliverance …

Reference Passage #1: Deuteronomy 31: 8 [NKJV]
 8 And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” 

Reference Passage #2 … Exodus 2:11–3:6 - GO TO THIS LINK   … God pursues Moses in the wilderness

Reference Passage #3 … Judges, Chapter 6 - GO TO THIS LINK   … God pursues Gideon, hiding in a wine barrel

Reference Passage #4 … 1st Kings 19: 1-7 - GO TO THIS LINK   … God saves Elijah on the run from Jezebel

Reference Passage #5 … Psalms 139: 7-10 - GO TO THIS LINK   … No where to hide from God

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Randy Kilgore, opens with the author telling a cute story about his child as an infant. According to Kilgore, his baby daughter, not even a toddler, developed a strategy to escape challenging situations. She apparently reasoned that when she closed her eyes, since she couldn’t see anyone, no one could see her. So, when she wanted to escape a situation, she would merely close her eyes.

 Well the Bible is full of stories of God’s men trying to sneak away or escape from their fellow man or God [see Reference passages #2-4 linked above]; but probably the most obvious of these is Jonah, who was charged to go to Nineveh but ended up in the belly of a big fish, praying to be saved. And, of course, we know of God’s pursuit of this “sneaker” … who would become a seeker after all. And in the other Bible story links above we read of other men of God, who were on the run from God; but God ran them down and helped them to become Godly men.

 No, … my fellow seeker, … as Psalm 139: 7-10, linked above, proclaims, … there’s no where to go to hide from God; because as Deuteronomy 31: 8 declares, God will, not only NEVER forsake us, … He goes ahead of us to pave the way for us to follow Him.

 So, let’s quit running from God today. As Sara Groves (see song link above) sings, … ”It’s Gonna Be Alright!!”

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Thank You for ALWAYS being there for me. … Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, 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, October 16, 2014

October 16, 2014 … Detours

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 289

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear a video of of Daniel O’Donnell singing one of my favorite songs,Here I Am Lord, declaring the faith to follow God, no matter where He will lead us.  


Highlight Passage: Genesis 12: 1 [NKJV} …
  1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country; from your family And from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. … “ 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Genesis 12: 1-10; 13: 1 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Sometimes God leads us on a detour in life; …and we go not knowing why …

Reference Passage #1: Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … You should know this one by now if you’ve read along with me; … if not, go find it and meditate on its truth …

Reference Passage #2: Acts 8: 26-27 [NKJV] … God calls Philip and he goes …
  26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. 

Reference Passage #3: Hebrews 11: 1 [NKJV] … Faith is sometimes a detour in life …
  1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dave Branon, reminds his readers (that’s me) of a reality that most of us have faced in life - probably more than once; and that is a detour on the highways of life, … where we’re required to get off the main road - or the one our GPS has led us - and take an unseen and unknown route to bypass some unknown dilemma.

 Our biblical examples today included the well-known story of Abram, who was called out of his home by God; and he went, … not knowing where God was leading him. And as we read in Genesis, Chapter 12, he was given several detours by God before the Lord led him to where he would finally pitch his tent.

 In the New Testament, Christ’s later disciples, like Paul and Philip were rerouted a number of times (see the Acts 8 example referenced above) as God’s Spirit led them - by faith - to spread the Good News of the Gospel, … sometimes leading them to travel in dangerous territories unknown to them. But as we read, in Hebrews 11: 1 faith often requires taking unseen and unknown detours in life … yes, just because God calls us away from our own GPS direction and off onto the Lord’s route for our lives.

 About 15 years ago, God called my wife and I to move off our direction in life, to retire from a professional career of over 30 years in healthcare, and to travel down an unexplored road in life, co-founding and leading in a ministry to help Christians walk free from the self-imposed chains of addiction to habitual sexual sin. And not knowing where this detour would take us; and not knowing what this road would look like, we followed. And God led us to help many men walk the walk of faith, rather than the flesh; and He led us to help many marriages be rekindled and renewed. The detour was certainly well worth it … not because of what we’ve done, … but because of where God has led us.

 Is God calling you to some detour in life? If so, take it!!!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Thank You for leading us down Your road … rather than the safer one we were on years ago. … 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, October 15, 2014

October 15, 2014 … A Friend of Sinners

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 288

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear a video of of Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing one of my favorite songs, He’ll Do Whatever It Takes, declaring the truth of what our Savior is willing to do to save even the worst of sinners.

Click on Photo to see a larger image - Then on the "X" to return to blog 

Highlight Passage: Matthew 9: 11-13, note verse 12 [NKJV} …
  11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Matthew 8: 1-4; 9: 9-12 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  With Jesus, religion was upside down …

Reference Passage #1: Luke 5: 27-32 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK … Jesus was a “friend of sinners” …  

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Phillip Yancey, relates a story from two of the Gospels, … from Matthew, directed to Jewish legalists, … and from Luke, written for Greek pagan minds.

 You probably know the story of Jesus choosing Matthew, the outcast tax-collector, to be one of His inner 12 Disciples. And, in doing so, even dining socially with sinners, Jesus showed His true colors as a Messiah Who had come to save the lost, … no matter who they might be.

 And I, for one, am so grateful that my Savior, as depicted in the attached photo, and in today’s song was/is willing to do whatever it takes to reach down and pursue even the worst of sinners, … of whom I was surely one.

 So, please take a few minutes to take in the reality of these images, the song, and the Scriptures, relating the truth of a Messiah, Who came from His Father in Heaven, to reach down and to save the lost, … whomever they are … and wherever they might be.

 And do I sense a reader here joining me in a resounding … HALLELUJAH!!!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Thank You for being a friend to sinners like me. … Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, 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, October 14, 2014

October 14, 2014 … A Forever of Hellos

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 287

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear a video of of Sandi Patty singing We Shall Behold Him, declaring the glory of leaving this earth to be with our Lord FOREVER … in all of His glory!!


Highlight Passage: 2nd Corinthians 5: 8 [NKJV} …
  8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: 2nd Corinthians 4: 6-5:8 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Forever with Jesus - face to Face …

Reference Passage #1: John 14: 1-6 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  … Jesus promises we will join Him in heaven

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Anne Cetas, related some stories about family reunions and the good-byes which always end a family time together. And the ODB author’s illustrations reminded me of my own family as we try to gather at least annually - somewhere - to spend a week together.

 Part of our family, with three of our grandkids, lives a little over 1700 miles away from us; and we don’t get a chance to see them very often unless we go to them or bring them together to be with us. And when we can gather it’s so good to experience the “hellos” and the joy of togetherness. However, after our pre-determined vacation time together, there are the sad “good-byes” which must be shared until we can gather again sometime down the road.

 That was the intense experience of Jesus saying “good-bye” to His inner 12 Disciples in that “upper room,” where we read of His promise to bring His faithful followers to be with Him in a forever reunion in Heaven (see the John 14 passage above). What Jesus promised the 12 (actually only 11 of them) was a forever of HELLOS with no more goodbyes. And that’s also what the Apostle Paul wrote about to the Church in the ODB highlight passage, linked above.

 In fact we often hear the highlight verse from 2nd Corinthians 5: 8 at funerals where, for Christians, there is the comforting truth that the one we miss in the flesh, the deceased, may no longer be present for us to share time together in the here-and-now; but he or she has been transposed to experience a forever of “hellos” with Jesus. And it is also comforting in the passing of a loved one to know that we will one day have a forever reunion with our loved one in heaven. You know the promise of the 2nd Corinthian passage … "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

 And as I think about the reality that, at the age which my wife and I are now, we will only have a few more years to experience the “hellos” of reunion here in this life; but it is so comforting to remember Jesus’ promise that He will bring us to be with Him in glory; and in that time there will be a forever of “hellos” with our family in Heaven.

 And do I sense some supportive “HALLELUJAHS!!” from those reading with me today.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Thank You for the Hallelujah of Hellos which You will bring our family to share with You in Glory. … Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, 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, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014 … Well Timed Words

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 286

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear a video of of Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing Let My Words Be Few, declaring our love of our Lord in but few, but powerfully timed words


Highlight Passage: Proverbs 26: 11-12 [NKJV} …
  11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. 12  Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Proverbs 25: 11-15 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Our words fitly timed …

Reference Passage #1: Proverbs 10: 19 [NKJV} … Wisdom from God through the words of Solomon …
  19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, … but he who restrains his lips is wise. 

Reference Passage #2: Ecclesiastes 3: 7 [NKJV} … From vast time and experience Solomon teaches …
  7 A time to tear, and a time to sew; … A time to keep silence, … And a time to speak; ... 

Reference Passage #3: James 1: 19 [NKJV} …
  19 So then, [or “Know this”] my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; … 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Marvin Williams, closes out his ODB entry with a powerful quote: ”Timely words are works of art!” And his whole teaching, coming primarily from Solomon’s wise words (see the Scriptures above from Proverbs and Ecclesiastes), focuses on how well-timed words can either build or destroy with their power and timing.

 I just love the image I’ve attached today to illustrate my own journaling. I’ve used it before in my blogging. And I’m sure you get the emotion and truth in the image. Perhaps you, like me, have been reading from God’s word, or you heard a word from a pulpit on Sunday, which you felt was JUST FOR YOU and conveyed the love of God very personally from God’s Spirit. It was like God reached out and hugged you from His word … as the attached photo depicts.

 Or maybe you’ve had a more jarring experience which came from God’s word or some teacher, … preaching from God’s truth, … where you were jostled or moved to redirect your life, having been shaken by words of rebuke or exhortation … away from your sinful direction and redirected to God’s will or His path for your life.

 Or perhaps your Spirit has been challenged by God’s silence; … where God seems to be absent; … but you know - in your heart - that His silence is teaching you an important - if not critical - lesson. 

Yes, a well-timed word or truth, coming from God, or maybe even a crushing silence, can be God’s way of bringing you His loving kindness and/or a hug from His love. And the same can be true when we - as His children - either pass a word of encouragement or love on to someone else in our lives; … OR … we just keep silent, knowing that to speak anything is not what our loved-one needs. Perhaps a well-timed word of encouragement is what a friend or a hurting loved-one needs today. And all we need to do is be God’s mouthpiece or His silent presence.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Show me when to provide someone - maybe even today - Your love through my words … or just my silent presence of support. … 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, October 12, 2014

October 12, 2014 … Our Sanctuary

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 285

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear a video of of a congregation in worship singing Santuary, declaring the plea from all Christians to be prepared by God to be a living sanctuary of others as Christ is for all of us


Highlight Passage: Matthew 11: 28 [NKJV} …
  28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Matthew 11: 25-30 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Yoked to Christ as our sanctuary …

Reference Passage #1: Matthew 23: 4 [NKJV} … In rebuking the Pharisees as hypocrites (see all of Matthew 23) Jesus shows that we cannot be yoked to man because he cannot carry the burdens which are carried by The Messiah ...
4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 

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: 2nd Corinthians 12: 9-10 [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. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

Reference Passage #4 - NKJV: 1st John 5: 1-5 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  All who are in Christ can overcome the world because we are yoked to Christ in faith

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Bill Crowder, teaches a simple - but very hard - lesson which Jesus tried to impart to His disciples (all who would follow Him). The lesson - we cannot carry the burdens of others unless we are yoked to the one who can carry life’s burdens; and that, of course, is Christ.

 In the times of Christ, as pictured in the attached photo, the plow was carried by strong oxen who were yoked together to provide tremendously magnified power to pull the heavy plow. One of the oxen was the lead oxen, and was set on the inside as the plow turned at the end of each row. This was done to steady the younger, stronger oxen on the outside when the row turned … and to keep the rows straight during the plowing.

 The lesson from this image is straight forward (forgive the pun!); … we must be yoked to Christ, as indicated in today’s highlight passage, because only He can keep our lives straight (see Luke 9: 23) and give us the strength to plow straight rows through this life (see the 2Cor and 1John passages referenced above).

 So, it’s time for all of us to do a YOKE CHECK … to see if we’re firmly attached to our Lord to carry the burdens of this world. Because only when we’re strongly affixed to the yoke of our Savior will we be able to plow the furrows of this life, … especially if we are yoked to others, trying to help them carry their burdens.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … You are my sanctuary; … give me Your strength so that I can be yoked to You to be a sanctuary for 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, 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, October 11, 2014

October 11, 2014 … Transformation Power

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 284

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to see/hear a video of the group Hillsong, leading in worship, singing the classic hymn I Surrender All, declaring the secret to the power of God’s Spirit in our lives - and that is total surrender


Highlight Passage: 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. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Romans 12: 1-8 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Our power to resist the world as living sacrifices in God’s family …

Reference Passage #1: Matthew 22: 34-37 - Note vs 37 [NKJV} …
  34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” … 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ [Deut. 6: 5] 

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 - NKJV: 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK  Surrendering to the power of God’s truth with change one’s life and could change the world …

Reference Passage #4 - NKJV: 2nd Peter 1: 2-4 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK We have all the power we need to be transformed into Christlikeness

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David McCasland, refers to another author as he writes … Educator and best-selling author Tony Wagner is a firm believer in “disruptive innovation” that changes the way the world thinks and works. In his book Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, he says, “Innovation occurs in every aspect of human endeavor,” and “most people can become more creative and innovative—given the right environment and opportunities.” 

And that’s exactly what the Apostle Paul was teaching to the Church in Rome [and to us as modern day Christians] when he wrote in today’s highlight verses - under the inspiration of God in today’s highlight passages - about the power of total surrender - as a “living sacrifice” - to God’s will and His way through His word, which gives the Christian the power to resist the way of the world and the leadings of Satan, … transforming us … “by the renewing of our minds” … with all the power we need into Christlikeness (see 2nd Peter 1: 2-4, linked above).

 The question is, … in our current world (i.e., culture), are we willing to go into surrender mode to God’s Spirit to capture the power that God offers to become more like Christ tomorrow than today and more like Him today than yesterday? 

That’s God’s plan for me (and for you); and I, for one, plan to surrender to it!!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … I surrender all … prayerfully more today than yesterday … and even more 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, 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.