Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December 31, 2014 … Crossing Our Jordan

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 365

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of Kristyn Getty singing By Faith, … declaring the truth that we can follow our God to find the Holy City God promises for all who come to Him in faith …


Highlight Passage #1 Joshua 3: 14 [NKJV] … 
14 So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, … 
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Highlight Context - Joshua 3: 9-17 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   God’s people had to trust in God for them to cross over the Jordan and into the Promised Land.
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Reference Passage #1 - Joshua 1: 8-9 [NKJV] … 
8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 

Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … 
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Jennifer Benson Schuldt, relates a personal story to illustrate her New Year’s Eve devotional, a story which reminded me of my own family incident.

 When our oldest daughter was about 5 years old she was learning to swim; and she wanted to show her mom and dad that she could jump off the high dive at the rec center where we went to swim as a family. I told her to get on the board and I would be in the pool below when she jumped into the water. When she got to the edge of the diving board, I could see the look of fear on her face; and I could imagine her thinking, “Can I trust Dad down there treading water; … and what will happen when I jump?” … But she did trust me; and she jumped from that 30 meter board; and I’ll never forget the smile on her face as she emerged from the water after jumping off.

 So, today's ODB author, Schuldt, directs her readers (me) to the passage in Joshua, Chapter 3 where the fearful Israelites were being exhorted by Joshua, their new leader after Moses had died, to cross over and head into the “Promised Land,” as God was directing His people. But remember all those fears the people had from the report of the spies that the Canaanites, who lived across the Jordan, were like monsters. Like my daughter at the edge of that diving board, God’s people were asking themselves, “Can we trust God and our new leader, Joshua?” But as we see in the highlight passage linked above and the attached photos, the people, led by their Priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant, stepped into the Jordan; and history tells us that the waters parted much as they had when God’s people were led by Moses across the Red Sea to escape the Egyptians 40 years earlier.

 It’s a new year ahead; but today’s devotional begs the question, “Are we willing to cross the Jordan of our fears and trust God to lead us into HIS purposes and HIS promises?” … Will we trust our God to lead us as HE did Joshua; or will we let our fears paralyze us to keep us from crossing over our 2014 Jordan and move into the promised land of 2015?

 Our choice; … but personally I choose to jump off the board with God waiting for me in the waters of fear. I choose to step into Jordan of tomorrow morning and be here crossing into God’s promised land of my future. And I know that just as God promised Joshua in Joshua 1: 8-9, if I step out in faith, following God’s word and seeking His will, being obedient to His ways, my God will lead me to HIS promised land into this New Year.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … I will cross the Jordan of my fears and following You into Your promised land. 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, December 30, 2014

December 30, 2014 … Following The Good Shepherd

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 364

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of Marty Goeetz, our Messianic Jewish psalmist, singing King David’s beloved Psalm, Psalm 23, … declaring the truth that our Savior is our Good Shepherd now and forevermore.


Highlight Passage #1 Psalm 23: 1; … 6 [NKJV] … 
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. … 
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; … And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. 
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Highlight Context - Psalm 23 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …  David’s beloved song about the “Good Shepherd” in his life
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 53: 6 [NKJV] … 
6 … All we, like sheep, have gone astray. We have turned each to his own way; and the Lord has laid on HIM the iniquity of us all. 

Reference Passage #2 - John 10: 7-11; 22-30 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK … Jesus IS “The Good Shepherd,” Who clearly states that He and the Father are ONE

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David C. Egner, relates a poignant and pertinent thought for Christian readers to hold onto as we move into the New Year; and Egner illustrates the point with a true story about a flock of over 1500 sheep, where one, leading the flock, fell over a cliff; and in the process of following that one, over 300 of the flock died. 

It’s an apt word picture that several Scriptural authors describe God’s chosen as “sheep;” and the Lord as our “Good Shepherd.” Several of those Bible passages are linked or copied above, the most often quoted being from the 23rd Psalm, penned by King David; and I hope any reader here has taken a few minutes to use the song link above to hear one of my favorite Christian singers, Marty Goetz, a Messianic Jew, who has put Psalm 23 to music.

And over 700 years before the birth of Messiah, the Prophet Isaiah declared the nature of mankind being like sheep, wandering on our own and often perishing in our desires to follow other sheep; but as Isaiah writes in Isaiah 53: 6, God has lain on Christ the iniquity of us all, providing mankind with a Savior, … a “Good Shepherd,” to lead us to safety, as King David wrote, … into … “the house of the Lord forever.”

 And, of course, you no doubt have red the red-letter words in Scripture (see the John, Chapter 10 passages linked above) where Jesus openly and clearly, in response to inquiry from the religious leaders of His day, referred to HIMSELF as “The Good Shepherd,” declaring that He and The Father were (and are) One.

 And today, as we’re about to launch our walk with The Lord into 2015, I pray that we all are closely following the Good Shepherd so that we will avoid following other sheep over the cliffs of danger in our lives.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … I pray that all here are following our Good Shepherd closely and diligently into and through this upcoming new year. … Lead us, Lord, and we will follow. Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, 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, December 29, 2014

December 29, 2014 … Waiting on God

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 363

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of Kristyn Getty singing the song written by Keith Getty, By Faith, … reminding Christians of the faith it takes to wait on God and work within His will.


Highlight Passage #1 John 11: 5-7 [NKJV] … 
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. 7 Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 
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Highlight Context - John 11: 1-48 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …  Faith many times requires waiting on God’s way, rather than wanting our own way

Highlight Context #2 - John 11: 20-27 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   Martha illustrates both selfish desire and ultimate faith in Jesus
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Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … 
6 … Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him; and He will direct your paths.

Reference Passage #2 - Luke 10: 38-42 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK … Martha learning about faith from Jesus

Reference Passage #3 - 2nd Corinthians 5: 6-8 [NKJV] … 
6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Marion Stroud, besides the highlight passages about Jesus raising Lazarus from the grave, uses a personal story about his kids at Christmas to illustrate how difficult it is for any of us, let alone children, to exercise faith in circumstances which require delayed gratification. We humans are all dissatisfied when we have to wait to get what we desire. We are a “give me more” and “give it to me now” people, aren’t we? 

We’ve been celebrating The Advent Season in my devotionals in the last few weeks; and Christmas is a story about delayed gratification. God sent His son, The Messiah, in the form of a babe in a manger, which was confusing to the the Jews; but then God’s plan had Jesus waiting and growing for 30 years before Jesus began to reveal Himself as the Son of God to His friends and the religious leaders of the day.

 And one of those times of delayed revelation came when Jesus’ friend Lazarus fell ill and died as related in today’s highlight scripture (see link to John 11: 1-48 above). You remember the story. In His divine insight, Jesus knew that His friend Lazarus had died; but he delayed with His disciples two days before traveling to Bethany, another two days, to be with Lazarus’ sisters Martha and Mary. 

Therefore, Lazarus had been dead for four days and was decaying in his tomb. Martha, came to Jesus upon His arrival, despondent over the death, and expressing dismay that Jesus hadn’t come earlier to save her brother (see the passage in John 11: 20-27 above). But Jesus was there to teach all his followers, especially the Jewish leaders whose hate of Jesus was growing, a lesson about WHO He was (and is). And in this moment of despair, Martha, whom we often give a bad rap about her faith (see the Luke 10 link above), even though she was grieving over the loss of here brother, showed very deep faith that Jesus was the Son of God.

 The question from these lessons today is … DO WE HAVE THE FAITH TO WAIT ON GOD? Can we trust God to rely on God’s way, … God’s timing, … and God’s plan, rather than being influenced by our selfish desire to have our own way? This is a good reminder and self exam for me today. How about you?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Help me to have the faith of Prov. 3: 5 and 2nd Cor. 5: 7 and to walk by faith rather than by needing my own sight. 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, December 28, 2014

December 28, 2014 … Yet He lives!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 362

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of Matt Maher singing his very personal declaration in son, Because He Lives, … reminding all who call Jesus their Savior, that we are alive BECAUSE HE LIVES !!


Highlight Passage #1 Romans 8: 38-39 [NKJV] … 
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
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Highlight Context - Romans 8: 31-39 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   Paul’s exhortation of victory … in that nothing can separate the born-again Christian from the love of God. 
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 31: 6 [NKJV] … 
[Moses to Joshua] 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 - Romans 7: 13-25 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK  ... The prophesy fulfilled, and written of by Matthew in Chapter 2, verse 15, that God Son would come out of Egypt …

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David C McCasland, relates a beautiful story to illustrate the main point of today’s entry. I’d do it an injustice if I tried to provide it seconded handed to any reading here. Therefore, here are the author’s words … " Ted Robertson’s home in Colorado was one of more than 500 destroyed by the Black Forest Fire in June 2013. When he was allowed to return and sift through the ash and rubble, he was hoping to find a precious family heirloom made by his wife—a tiny ceramic figurine of baby Jesus about the size of a postage stamp. As he searched the charred remains of their home, he kept wondering, ‘Is the baby Jesus still here?’ … In a corner of what used to be his garage, Ted Robertson discovered the burned remnants of a nativity scene and there he found the baby Jesus figurine undamaged by the flames. He told KRDO NewsChannel 13, ‘We’ve gone from apprehension to hope . . . that we’re going to recover some parts of our life that we thought were lost.’ " 

Do you identify with that story? I sure do. So often when we, as Christians, are in the midst of trials, maybe even some which are devastating, we can be lured by the lie (probably from Satan) that our Lord has abandoned us. But if a believer can internalize the truth of today’s ODB highlight passage (see the link above to Romans 8; 31-39), we’ll KNOW, without doubt, the truth of what Moses was relating to Joshua when Moses was dying … that our God will never leave us, nor forsake us [see Deut. 31: 6 above].

 Today’s ODB highlight passage is from the great victory chapter Paul wrote in Romans 8 [use the link above to review it]. And the hopefulness which Paul writes in that chapter is in stark contrast to his self-conflicted attitude in Romans 7: 13-24 [also linked above]. Writing God’s truth in both the Romans 7 and Romans 8 passages, we see that even a staunch believer, like Paul, can get down-and-out about our sin nature and/or the circumstances of life; but ROMANS 8 relays the pick-me-up truth … that OUR SAVIOR LIVES, and nothing can separate us from His love.

 So, today, as Matt Maher sings in the song linked above, let’s get on board with those Deut. 6 - Romans 8 truths … and live to walk with the One Who has saved us from ourselves, … the One Who Lives, … and the One Who will never leave us nor forsake us.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … I know You live and that You will walk with me 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.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

December 27, 2014 … Protected in God’s Will

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 361

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of Josh Groban singing his poignant arrangement of the Christmas carol, What Child Is This, … reminding all who call Jesus, The Christ, our Savior that He is the King of kings and even as a babe was The Messiah.


Highlight Passage #1 Matthew 2: 13 [NKJV] … 
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” 
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Highlight Context - Matthew, Chapter 2 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   The true tale of God sending His angel to reroute Joseph and his family to Egypt to escape the horrible edict of King Herod to kill all the male children in Bethlehem and surrounding regions.
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 9: 6 [NKJV] … 
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. 

Reference Passage #2 - Hosea 11: 1 [NKJV] … The prophesy fulfilled, and written of by Matthew in Chapter 2, verse 15, that God Son would come out of Egypt …
  1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My Son. … “ 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dave Branon, reminded me of a personal story which illustrated the point of today’s ODB entry, which was that God can/will direct and protect our lives to complete or fulfill His plans and purposes for our lives. 

My story happened years ago when my uncle and aunt were driving into their driveway on Palm Sunday in 1965 in Indiana when a tornado came through their farm. As my uncle pulled into his driveway, he saw their house explode; and his truck was picked up by the raging cyclone, dropping the truck back on the highway next to their farm headed directly away from the farm and the storm and toward the town. My uncle accelerated the truck and escaped the storm and their deaths from the tornado. Many people died in that tornado that night; but my aunt and uncle lived well into their nineties to raise their kids and grandkids, knowing that God very likely saved them that night. 

Matthew relates a fascinating and complicated true story about how God’s intervention in the lives of Mary, Joseph, and their newborn son saved them from imminent peril. Please take the time to refresh your memory of these events by using the link above to read and meditate on Chapter 2 of Matthew’s Gospel account, when God sent an angel to Joseph to take his young family from Bethlehem to Egypt. And when they ultimately returned to Nazareth after Herod’s death, we read how that historical event fulfilled God’s plan, prophesied by Hosea (see Hosea 11: 1 copied above) that God would bring His Son out of Egypt to fulfill God’s redemptive plan in Jerusalem.

 The point of the ODB entry today is straight forward. If we are in the will of God, and pursue that will and the Lord’s ways, God will guide us, protect us, and ultimately take us where He has destined us to go. When we are in God’s will, we’re in the safest place we can be.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … guide me, direct me, protect me for Your purposes and 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.

Friday, December 26, 2014

December 26, 2014 … Shining His Light

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 360

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of Matt Redman singing his poignant song, Light of the World, … pleading for God, the Light of the World to shine on His children.


Highlight Passage #1 ... John 1: 14 [NKJV] … 
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 
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Highlight Context - John 1: 1-14 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   Spirit inspired declaration of the essence of The Christ, who was born a man to dwell among men and shine His light for all to see God
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 9: 6 [NKJV] … 
6 For unto us a Child is born, 
Unto us a Son is given; 
And the government will be upon His shoulder. 
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, 
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. 

Reference Passage #2 - John 14: 16-17 [NKJV] … Jesus promises the coming of the Holy Spirit…
  16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 

Reference Passage #3 - Acts 1: 8 [NKJV] Jesus, ascending into heaven, charges all who truly believe in Him to become His Spirit-empowered witnesses …
  8 “… But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

 Reference Passage #4 - Philippians 2: 6-7 [NKJV] And my Lord did this for me (and you) …
  6 … Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Joe Stowell, used a personal story to illustrate the importance and reason God set aside His glory and came down as a babe in a manger to dwell among men. Here was Stowell’s story … ”It was the buzz of our neighborhood. A famous professional football player had moved in just two houses down from where we lived. We had seen him on television and read about his great skills on the field, but we never thought he would choose to reside in our neighborhood. Initially, our expectations were that we would welcome him into the neighborhood and we would all become great friends. But his life was obviously far too busy for any of us to get to know him personally.“ 

And then author Stowell reminds the ODB devotional readers (i.e., me) of the incredible reality of the Spirit-inspired declaration of the Apostle John, highlighted and linked above, … that the God of the Universe, … the great “I AM,” … chose, as it says in Phil. 2: 6-7, to set aside the glory of the Godhead to become a Babe in a manger and to walk among men and to die so ignominiously on a cross, so that mankind could see and identify with the Light of the World, … to see God in flesh, walking among us.

 But even those who walked most closely with Him during His time on earth, His inner disciples, didn’t recognize what the beloved Apostle John wrote about [see John 1: 14 copied above] until after He died on that infamous cross and was raised again from the dead, and ascended once again into heaven, … all witnessed by over 500 hundred earthly witnesses, who were transformed later by the coming of the promised Holy Spirit, as promised by Jesus (see John 14: 16-17), so that all who surrendered to God’s Spirit, could shine Jesus’ light - the Light of the World - as His witnesses (see Acts 1: 8 above) into an ever darkening world. And our Lord charged all of us, i.e., those who’ve received Him as Savior and LORD, to do all we can to shine His light - every day of our lives.

 So, today, as we are coming out from our celebration of our Lord’s birth, let us do all we can to shine His light … by worshipping the “Word Who became flesh” and dwelt among us, … the One Who sent His Spirit to abide in the hearts of true believers forever as the “Light of the World!”

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … shine Your light in 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, December 25, 2014

December 25, 2014 … Shepherds of The Good News

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 359

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of group of children singing the old Christmas carol, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks, … telling the story of the first emissaries and evangelists after the birth of our Savior, … the lowly shepherds near Bethlehem. 


Highlight Passage #1 Luke 2: 17-18 [NKJV] … The lowly shepherds in Bethlehem at the birth of the Savior, … the first evangelists.
  17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 
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Highlight Context - Luke 2: 8-20 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …  The story of the blessed shepherds at the first Christmas
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 9: 6 [NKJV] … 
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. 

Reference Passage #2 - Luke 1: 52 [NKJV] … Mary sings of her coming child Who would be “God with us” …
  14 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Randy Kilgore, reminds the ODB readers [that’s me!] of the fascinating Christmas irony where God gave the lowest of the low in the culture in those days, … shepherds …, the opportunity to be the first evangelists, telling of what they had seen near Bethlehem at the birth of our Messiah.

 The shepherds, abiding their flocks in the field near Bethlehem, saw the Star and were visited by God’s Angel, announcing the birth of The Messiah; and they dropped everything (very unlike shepherds) to go and see this child. And having seen Him and worshipped the Christ child, they went about the countryside telling of what they had witnessed; and the people were amazed at their proclamations [see the highlight passage linked above].

 Today is the Advent celebration of the birth of Our Lord, … THE MESSIAH!! And if we truly believe that He is THE ONE, the Good Shepherd, Who came to save us all, should we be any less enthusiastic than those shepherds in Bethlehem to share what we have seen? Has Christ changed your life? He certainly has mine.

 So, in today’s ODB devotional I’m convicted to be more of a shepherd of the message of One we celebrate His coming today.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … let me by a more vocal shepherd of the good news of Your coming to save lowly 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.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December 24, 2014 … The Prince of Peace

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 358

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of the talented group, Pentatonix, singing a contemporary version of the glorious Christmas carol, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, … proclaiming what the Angels proclaimed at the birth of the Messiah Who came to earth as a babe to provide and end to the enmity between God and mankind - PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TOWORD MEN!!


Highlight Passage #1 Ephesians 2: 14-15 [NKJV] … Paul states how we should feel 24/7 - 365, let alone during this special Advent Season …
  14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, …
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Highlight Context - Ephesians 2: 13-19 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …  As Christians, we are no longer at enmity with God; but He is our Prince of Peace
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 9: 6 [NKJV] … 
6 For unto us a Child is born, 
Unto us a Son is given; 
And the government will be upon His shoulder. 
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, 
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, 
the Prince of Peace. 

Reference Passage #2 - Luke 2: 13-14 [NKJV] … 
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David C. McCasland, relates the wondrous true story of a Christmas truce which came about on Christmas of 1914 on the battlefields of France during the WW2. The Germans and the Allies, battling bitterly at the beginning of WW2; and in a series of events, which you can READ ABOUT AT THIS LINK, - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_truce - the two sides declared a peace and came out of their trenches of warfare and celebrated the birth of the “Prince of Peace” together, even playing a harmless soccer game [see attached photo from London newspaper]. But unfortunately, the day after Christmas that year, the war continued and millions more lost their lives until 1918 at the end of WW2.

 700 years before Christ’s birth, Isaiah prophesied the coming Messiah (see Isaiah 9: 6 copied above again), declaring that, in Christ, we would have the “Prince of Peace,” the one who would come to die and bring absolute peace between God and mankind, the enmity established in the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden. And when The Messiah was born, the Angels declared the newborn King to be that Prince of Peace, prophesied by Isaiah. And when our LORD comes again to claim all who have surrendered to His Lordship, we will live at peace with our God in heaven FOREVER.

 So, join me to joyously, sing (or to say), as the Angels sang (see Luke 2: 13-14) … “Peace on earth, good will toward men!!!” 

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Help us, to lay down our enmity toward our fellow man and to recognize and worship You as the Prince of Peace. 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, December 23, 2014

December 23, 2014 … The Greatest Gift

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 357

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of Josh Groban singing on of the glorious Christmas carols, What Child Is This, … reflecting in song about God’s greatest gift of all - the babe in a manger Who was/is the Son of God, given by God to save us all.


Highlight Passage #1 ... 2nd Corinthians 9: 15 [NKJV] … Paul states how we should feel 24/7 - 365, let alone during this special Advent Season …
  15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 
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Highlight Context - 2nd Corinthians 9: 10-15 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …  Of all of God’s providence, the greatest gift of all, His Son, was His most glorious provision
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 9: 6 [NKJV] … 
6 For unto us a Child is born, 
Unto us a Son is given; 
And the government will be upon His shoulder. 
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, 
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Reference Passage #2 - Luke 2: 7 [NKJV]
7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Bill Crowder, relates some Christmas reflections from Christmas traditions in his own home, where the family would gather around the tree with all the gifts; and author Crowder would read the Christmas story from Luke, Chapter 2, reflecting on God’s greatest gift, … Who, of course, was Jesus, God’s own Son, … Who came in the form of a babe, wrapped in the most common of Christmas wrappings, … those swaddling cloths.

 Hopefully, as we all sit around our Christmas trees, decorated with the lights and with all the gifts, wrapped in shining bright wrappings or in pretty boxes, as we give gifts to one another, we can pause for a moment to remember and recognize God’s greatest gift of all, who from our standpoint is the “reason for the season” - JESUS!

 But then dear one, also stop and think of who was “the reason for the season” from Jesus’ point of view; and that of course was - and is - you and me. Yes, we are Jesus’ reason for coming to earth. He came to save US, … you and me. And so, from the viewpoint of God’s greatest gift, WE are His reason for the season. So, join me to joyously, say what Paul said to the Church in 2nd Cor. 9: 15, copied above, … "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Help us to keep our focus on YOU during this special season with so many of Your gifts surrounding us. 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, December 22, 2014

December 22, 2014 … Christmas Wrappings

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 356

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of Mark Lowry singing one of my favorite Christian songs about Christmas, Mary, Did You Know, … asking if Mary, the mother of our Lord, recognized that her Son, wrapped in swaddling cloths was the great “I AM”


Highlight Passage #1 Philippians 2: 6-7 [NKJV] … Christ will come again as our High Priest to fulfill His final mission …
  [Our LORD]Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 
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Highlight Context - Philippians 2: 5-11 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   God set aside His glorious “wrappings” and the majesty of His position in His incarnation as a human babe in a manger
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 9: 6 [NKJV] … 
6 For unto us a Child is born, 
Unto us a Son is given; 
And the government will be upon His shoulder. 
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, 
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Reference Passage #2 - Luke 2: 7 [NKJV] … 
7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Joe Stowell, tells of how is wife, Martie, who, each Christmas, would tell all those around the tree to carefully unwrap each gift, saving the wrappings so that they could be used to wrap the gifts for the next year. But I’m afraid our family is not quite so fastidious about the wrappings, the kids especially just wanting to know what’s inside the wrappings [see attached photo]; and the wrappings, in short order find themselves in piles on the floor around the tree.

 Well, when the most glorious gift ever given to mankind came into this world, the wrappings were a surprise to those who experienced Christ as a babe in a manger, … as a young boy in the Temple, … and as an itinerant Rabbi, Who actually was THE MESSIAH, teaching in the hills of Galilee in His days on earth.

 No, likely because of the prophesy of Isaiah (see Isaiah 9: 6, copied above), the people expected to see THE MESSIAH in the wrappings of a glorious King, coming in power to overthrow the oppressors of the Jews, the Romans. But as is described later, after His birth, death, and resurrection, by the Apostle Paul [see the link to Philippians 2: 5-11, especially copied verses 6-7], our Lord set aside His glory and any majesty, and as the Physician Luke described it [see Luke 2: 7]; and He was born into the life of two common-place Jews, Mary and Joseph, and laid Him as a newborn in a manger in swaddling cloths. Such common wrappings for such a glorious gift delivered by God, the Father, to all of mankind for their deliverance.

 Perhaps this year as your family is sitting around the tree at Christmas and the presents are so beautifully wrapped, before we tear open those wrappings, we can call our attention to the wrappings … to remember just how glorious was the gift our Savior was to us, … The Gift Who came to us in such common wrappings.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Oh that You, our Messiah, would come in such a common way so that we could identify with the God of the universe. … Praise Your Holy Name!! Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, 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, December 21, 2014

December 21, 2014 … Our “Hallelujah” Chorus

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 355

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of The Royal Symphony and Choir performing Hallelujah Chorus, … the crowning glory of Georg Handel’s Oratorio, “The Messiah” … And then USE THIS LINK  to see/hear a beautiful exposé about Handel’s creation of his masterpiece Oratorio, The Messiah, where the biblical explanation of Handel’s work is proclaimed and explained.


Highlight Passage #1 Hebrews 9: 11 [NKJV] … Christ will come again as our High Priest to fulfill His final mission …
  11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 
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Highlight Context - Hebrews 9: 11-22 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   The explanation of the necessity of Messiah coming as Christ to shed His blood in the fulfillment of God’s covenant to mankind
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Reference Passage #1 - Revelation 21: 5 [NKJV]
5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” 

Reference Passage #1 - Revelation 22: 20b [NKJV]
20 … Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Julie Ackerman Link, uses a reference to the glorious oratorio, written by Georg Frederick Handel, to illustrate the reality of what is to come as we now celebrate the first coming of our Messiah, Jesus, during this Advent Season; but we should not forget, as Handel meant to highlight in his oratorio, that we should also be celebrating, with anticipation, the second advent and return of our Messiah to claim the remnant of His Bride and to re-establish His Kingdom on earth with the coming down of the New Jerusalem.

 I hope you would find about an hour and take the time to take in the beautiful YouTube videos to which I’ve linked any readers here in this blog (see above). The first is of the Royal Chorus and Orchestra performing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus and the second, a 54 minute, musical op ed piece, describing the biblical background of the entire Handel oratorio, The Messiah, which Handel wrote and performed later in his life (1759).

 When The Messiah is performed in concert these days, the Conductor of the orchestra and chorus is in total control of all the players, which, to me, is symbolic of God, the Father, in total control of all of HIS-story (i.e., History), and the playing out of all mankind in The Lord’s oratorio of redemption and completion which has been played out in the first coming of The Christ, and will be competed in glorious crescendo in the second coming of THE MESSIAH.

 Today, by taking in all of the videos, and seeing the glorious work of redemption and renewal being played out, as we celebrate our Lord’s first coming, … we can (and should) thankfully celebrate The Messiah’s yet coming again to gather all His people in His forever heavenly kingdom. And in chorus, let us all be declaring - HALLELUJAH!!!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … I pray I’m not alone is standing at Your Hallelujah chorus. … Yes, declaring along with the Apostle John, … " even so, .. COME, LORD JESUS! " Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, 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, December 20, 2014

December 20, 2014 … Praying In Jesus’ Name

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 354

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of the poignant lyrics and song, sung by the group Selah, In Jesus’ Name We Press On, … reminding us that it is in Jesus’ Name we have our hope to press on in the face of life’s struggles.


Highlight Passage #1 John 14: 13-14 [NKJV] … We pray IN HIS NAME …
  13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. 
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Highlight Context - John 14: 12-21 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   All we desire in this world, especially as we celebrate His Advent would be to life for and in His Name.
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Reference Passage #1 - John 16: 24 [NKJV] … 
24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. 

Reference Passage #2 - Philippians 2: 9-11 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …  After our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross, His resurrection and ascension to return to glory, God’s Name - “LORD” - now elevates Him to rule over all in our lives

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dennis Fisher, reminds and teaches all Christians of the power we have in the Name of Jesus to live our lives. And as we go through this current Advent Season, commemorating our Lord’s birth, let us keep our eyes of Who Jesus is and it is on HIS NAME we should focus all our living and prayers.

 Today’s ODB entry asks me - and I hope you - that all we are now and all we will ever be is a reflection in this life and a realization in the next of Jesus. And as Paul reflected in Philippians 2: 5-11, linked above, Jesus, upon his return to heaven after His resurrection has been given the name “LORD,” will all that Name means. The question for all Christians is … Does the Name of our Lord have the meaning in our lives it should? Or stated another way … Is Jesus really “LORD” in our lives?

 In this Advent Season, I think that should be THE question we reflect on. So, … do we celebrate “christmas” … or will we be celebrating “CHRISTmas?” Because only if His Name means what it should in our lives will we have the joy He desires for us (see John 16: 24 above).

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … I so pray that You are my LORD as I pray in Your Name. Amen

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

December 19, 2014 … The Essence of Christmas

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 353

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of the poignant Christmas song, sung by Josh Groban, What Child Is This, … reminding us that our Lord as a babe, very human, yet the Divine Savior of all mankind


Highlight Passage #1 1st Timothy 1: 14 [NKJV] … Paul’s admission of his need for a Savior, a Redeemer, and a Sanctifier …
  14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 
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Highlight Context - 1st Timothy 1: 12-17 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   At the heart of Christmas - God’s grace when we need Him as our Savior
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Reference Passage #1 - Acts 9: 1-16 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …  … Paul’s testimony of deliverance by God’s grace

Reference Passage #2 - John 3: 16 [NKJV] … You know this one.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David McCasland, uses the illustration of Charles Dicken’s character, Ebenezer Scrooge, in the play A Christmas Carol, making reference to Scrooge’s conversion as a sign that the heart of Christmas had become part of Scrooge, changing him completely during the Advent season.

 And there was another biblical character whom God, a real person this time, who was converted from selfishness to The Savior; and that was rabid Christian-hater, Saul of Tarsus, who became the Apostle Paul. And Paul had a powerful testimony of deliverance and redemption which he often used to declare the power of Christ through the Gospel to save the lost. And the ODB author for today, David McCasland, believes this point is the heart of the Advent Season (see 1st Timothy 1: 15 above) … that Jesus, The Christ, came into this world as a human, … yet Divine, to save the lost, of whom Paul felt he had been the chief sinner.

 In this Advent season, let us all remember how Jesus saved you and me; and let us be willing to share that testimony of deliverance with others.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Show me whom You desire I share my witness during this season. 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, December 18, 2014

December 18, 2014 … Jesus - My Friend!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 352

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of the poignant song, sung by Alan Jackson, the old hymn, What A Friend We Have In Jesus, … reminding us that our Lord is the most faithful and loving friend anyone could have in life.


Highlight Passage #1 1st Samuel 18: 3-4 [NKJV] … We read of the depths of the friendship between David and Jonathan …
  3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt. 
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Highlight Context - 1st Samuel 18: 1-4; 23: 15-18 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   The covenant friendship of David and Jonathan
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Reference Passage #1 - 2nd Samuel 1: 18-27 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …  When Jonathan died in battle, David honored his dear friend with this song

Reference Passage #2 - John 15: 13 [NKJV]
13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Poh Fang Chia, refers to the friendship developed and maintained between Jonathan, the crown prince and son of King Saul, and David, the one who had been anointed to become King of Israel in place of the crown prince. Their friendship, documented in the highlight passages, linked above, was a COVENANT relationship and friendship; … one which modeled the friendship which Christ has with all who have, in faith, made Him the LORD of our lives.

 Jesus was the Friend Who died for us, as He taught in John 15: 13 (see copied above). He was, like Jonathan was for David, willing to die for his friend. And today, in meditating on this deep and abiding friendship which was realized by David and Jonathan and the one finalized by Jesus, dying on the cross for all who would be His friend, … we must ask ourselves, DO WE HAVE A FRIEND such as this??

 I do; and in the few friends such as this, not the least of whom is my wife, I know that these dear ones would not only die for me but they live for me as well - everyday. And I pray that I would be that kind of a friend for them. But above all, … what a joy it is to know, as Alan Jackson sings, in the song linked above, “What a friend I 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.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December 17, 2014 … “Practice Makes Perfect?!”

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 351

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of the poignant song, sung by Phillips, Craig, and Dean, ... He’ll Do Whatever It Takes, … reminding us that our Lord will do His part in our discipleship; … but we have to be willing to do our part.


Highlight Passage #1 John 15: 10 [NKJV] … If we REALLY love our Lord, we will keep His commandments …
  10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. … “ 
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Highlight Context - John 15: 9-17 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   Jesus teaching on on the connection between love and obedience and how these elements of discipleship lead us to grow in Christlikeness
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Reference Passage #1 - Philippians 1: 6 [NKJV] … 
6 … being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; … 

Reference Passage #2 - 2nd Peter 3: 14-18 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   Exhortation from God’s word to be steadfast in the practice of our faith; … and especially note verse 18 where we are exhorted to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Cindy Kasper, uses a story about Pablo Casals, the great concert cellist, to illustrate the discipline and determination it takes to be a disciple of Christ. Kasper writes …
  Pablo Casals was considered to be the preeminent cellist of the first half of the 20th century. When he was still playing his cello in the middle of his tenth decade of life, a young reporter asked, “Mr. Casals, you are 95 years old and the greatest cellist that ever lived. Why do you still practice 6 hours a day?” … Mr. Casals answered, “Because I think I’m making progress.” 

Another story I’ve often used to make the point of what it takes as disciples of Christ involved the Hall-of-Fame NFL Coach, Vince Lombardi, who heard a journalist make the observation at one of Lombardi’s team practices. The sportswriter said, “I see why your teams are so successful; … because ‘practice makes perfect!’ To which Lombardi retorted, “Absolutely not! … Only perfect practice makes perfect!”

 And when it comes to following Christ both of these stories help to nail the essence of discipleship as a Christian. I call it the “3 Ds” of discipleship: Decision - Discipline - & Diligence. And the highlight passage, from John 15 linked above, was Jesus’ take on the matter. And to be a fruitful and growing disciple of Christ, Jesus taught that it takes …
DECISION - First, one must decide to be obedient and follow Christ. God will never do it for us. And only when we, in faith, DECIDE to obey our Lord can He give us the grace to be fruitful as a Christian.
DISCIPLINE - It’s the heartbeat of discipleship. We’ll never become like Christ if we don’t discipline ourselves to be like Christ. Remember Lombardi’s adage: “Only perfect practice makes perfect!”
DILIGENCE - Just like Pablo Casals, we’ll never do what Peter taught in 2nd Peter 3: 18, i.e, to grow in Christlikeness, unless we KEEP ON KEEPING ON by practicing our faith all the days of our life.

 Okay, … today’s ODB devotional was a pop-quiz on my discipleship … at least for me! … How are we doing in the 3 Ds of following Christ as He commanded in Luke 9: 23 (I don’t have that verse above because I’m praying that you know it by heart. If not, please look it up and see how we’re doing today in the perfect practice of our faith).

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Help me grow in You … ALL the day of my life. Amen

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

December 16, 2014 … From Humble to Heavenly

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 350

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in the lyrics of Carrie Underwood, singing the classic Wesley Christmas Carol, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, … reminding us of the humble birth of our King of righteousness who would be humiliated on a cross to save mankind and to glorify His Heavenly Father.  He was, as Underwood sings, "... born to give us second birth!"  


Highlight Passage #1 Luke 2: 14 [NKJV] … The Lord’s life began humbly but was destined for God’s glory …
  9 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” 
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Highlight Context - Luke 2: 1-14 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   Luke’s account of the humble, yet glorious, entrance of the King of kings into this world
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 9: 6-7 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   The prophesy of God sending His Son as a humble child to one day rule all mankind in His glory and majesty

Reference Passage #2 - Philippians 2: 5-11 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …  God set aside all of His glorious majesty and was born in such humble circumstances, lived as a servant, and died in ignominy, to then be exalted and returned to His place at the right hand of His Father in heaven.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Bill Crowder, began by describing the quaint Christmas traditions in the Ukraine. He wrote …
  The people of Ukraine include many wonderful elements in their observance of Christmas. Sometimes wisps of hay are placed on the dinner table as a reminder of the Bethlehem manger. Another portion of their celebration echoes the events of the night when the Savior entered the world. A Christmas prayer is offered and then the father in the household offers the greeting, “Christ is born!” The family then responds, “Let us glorify Him!” 

And then Crowder made his highlight Scriptural reference to the classic description of Christ’s birth by Luke, the physician, … with all the details of Jesus’ humble birth, found in Luke 2: 1-14, linked above for any reader’s meditation. And each time I read/meditate on that passage with an attitude of knowing my Lord more intimately, especially during the Advent season, I’m drawn to the stark ironies and contrasts in that wondrous historical scenario.

 There were the humble shepherds abiding in the fields near Bethlehem … and the Angels appearing in the heavens above. … There was the King of kings being born in the humblest of places, a manger, and likely a cave, where the cattle were housed.

 Actually my favorite “Christmas” description of the Lord coming to earth was authored by the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2: 5-11 [also linked above] where he describes how God, the Son, set aside His glorious majesty to be born and live as a humble servant of mankind, even unto death on a cross, to save me, … and you, … and all of those who are willing to humbly repent of self and receive Christ as Lord of lords and King of Kings.

 And this is that Advent season when we come to revisit and revel in the glory and majesty of our Lord coming to earth and being so humbly born in a manger with the Angels declaring, “Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace, goodwill to men.” … And along with me in this time of year, do I sense a wondrous, “AMEN and HALLELUJAH?!!” 

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … O let us remember You’re coming in humility to glorify Your Father and to save mankind. 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, December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014 … Stewards of Our Story

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 349

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in the lyrics of Sarah Evans singing the old Christmas gospel favorite, Go Tell It On the Mountain, … Reminding us of our witness to the greatness of our God to others in this world and how we must go and tell the story of God’s love by the way we live and in the declaration of our witness …


Highlight Passage #1 - NKJV Deuteronomy 4: 9 … Our life becomes a living book and testimony to God’s glory - OR NOT! - to the next generations
  9 Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, … 
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Highlight Context - Deuteronomy 4: 1-14 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   We are stewards of our legacy and life story for God’s glory
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   God’s charge to share His truth in the way we live and in passing our legacy on to the next generations.

Reference Passage #2 - Psalm 32 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   David’s drive to share all - the entire truth of his story - to the coming generations to instruct them in the way to go - see especially verse 8, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go,"… 

Reference Passage #3 - Psalm 40: 5 [NKJV] … David recounts the value of all that had transpired in his life , as he declared his witness to God in song …
  5 Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. 

Reference Passage #4 - Psalm 119: 145-146 [NKJV] … The Psalmist testifies openly in song to the power and value of God’s testimonies …
  5 I cry out with my whole heart; Hear me, O Lord! I will keep Your statutes. 146 I cry out to You; … Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Julie Ackerman Link, declares the power God has provided to each of us, as followers of the living God, to give glory to Him through our testimonies. The way we live our lives and the declarations from our witness make us stewards of our testimonies. Hence our lives become open books, a legacy for the next generations and for others whom God desires to come to Him in faith.

 Today’s ODB entry helped me to realize, with Spirit-led clarity, that we, as Christians, are stewards of our story; and as we live our lives we either project and anti-Christ or pro-Christ story for all to see/hear. And so, we must ask our selves, “What story am I telling to others, especially to the next generation, by the way I live and the proclamation of my story?”

 So today, let’s “Go tell it on the mountain” with our witness, … our story, … of Jesus’s love and saving grace.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Let my life and witness proclaim Your glory, especially during this Advent season 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, December 14, 2014

December 14, 2014 … Glory to the Newborn King!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 348

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in the lyrics with Carrie Underwood sining a contemporary version of the classic Christmas song, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, … declaring the most miraculous birth in all of mankind

Click on drawing to see larger view ... 
Try to find the birth scene in this clever drawing of Christ's face
Click on "X" to return to blog 

Highlight Passage #1 - NKJV Isaiah 7: 14 … The prophesy, some 700 years before Jesus’ birth, of Him being born to a virgin
  14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. 
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Highlight Context - Isaiah 7: 10-15 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   The early prophesy of the coming Messiah
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Reference Passage #1 - Genesis 3: 15 [NKJV] … The first biblical prophesy of the coming Messiah …
  15 And I will put enmity … Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” 

Reference Passage #2 - Isaiah, Chapter 53 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   Again, God’s prophetic account of the coming Messiah well over 700 years before Christ’s birth

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dave Branon, in this Advent season, which heralds and celebrates the birth of the Savior of mankind, we are reminded of the miraculous birth which was foretold by God well over a millennium before it occurred in history (see Genesis 3: 15). It is the single most significant event in human history because it brought about God’s plan of victory over sin and death with God’s Son dying on the cross, … fulfilling all the prophesies of the Messiah coming (see today’s highlight passage linked above in Isaiah, Chapters 7 and 53).

 So, as we go through this Advent season, I pray that we all have the HALLELUJAH spirit, thanking God for His wondrous gift, Who now resides in the hearts of all who have surrendered to him in faith.

Yes, … Jesus is EMMANUEL, … God in us! And let us sing, as Carrie Underwood does, linked above, …

“Hark the herald Angels sing, … GLORY TO THE NEWBORN KING!!! 

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Today I sing in praise of Your coming to save me and all of mankind!!! … HALLELUJAH!! … HALLELUJAH!!! Amen

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

December 13, 2014 … An Unsung Christmas Hero

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 347

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take take in a contemporary Christmas song, sung by Kathy Matea, What a Wonderful Beginning, … setting the scene for the coming of our Lord and Savior in the person of a babe in a manger


Highlight Passage #1 - NKJV Matthew 1: 19 … Joseph’s choices when he discovered Mary’s pregnancy break with tradition and were likely inspired by God’s prevenient grace, … model behavior for what His coming SON would later preach
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 
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Highlight Context – Matthew 1: 18-25 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   Joseph became an example for all Christians in the way he treated his betrothed
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Reference Passage #1 - NKJV Philippians 2: 5--11 … GO TO THIS LINK …   Joseph was an example of “Christlikeness” when he chose to protect his pregnant betrothed Mary

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Randy Kilgore, shows an interesting focus on the unfolding of Mary and Joseph and their stories as the incarnation God was heralded in the life of these two who would become the earthly parents of the Christ child. An angel, coming to Mary, as described by Luke’s account, told of God quieting the fears of the one who would become the Arc of the New Covenant. Matthew, a sinner, turned Saint, would focus on the perspective of Joseph, who had a very non-Jewish response when he learned of the pregnancy of his betrothed.

 In the account of Matthew (see inked above) we see Mary’s husband making a choice which was very non-traditional in those days for a Jewish male who was betrothed. He chose to protect Mary and the babe; and after the angel visited Joseph (see attached photo), he humbled himself and became a model of Christlikeness, living as his new Son would later preach.

 You know, at this time of year, it is often said that JESUS is the “reason for the season.” However, I often challenge that and point out that from the perspective of Jesus, you and I are His “reason for the Advent season.” Jesus came in the form of a babe in a manger to save and to sanctify men like his earthly father Joseph, as well as sinners like you and me.

 So, ask someone during this Advent season, “What’s the reason for the season?” And when someone says, “Jesus,” … tell them that Joseph was the unsung reason for the season; and see if they don’t ask you for an explanation. It will give you a very good opening to tell them that the Advent season shows us that Jesus was born to save sinners like Joseph … and all of us.

 It’ll be a good way to witness to Jesus’ coming during this season.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, thank You for making ME the reason for this season. 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, 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, December 12, 2014

December 12, 2014 … “Snug As a Bug In A Rug!”

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 346.

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Once again, please take take in a contemporary song, sung by Cece Winans, Blessed Assurance, … calling all Christians to have the blessed assurance of our salvation in Christ

[To read text, click on graphic - click "X" to return to blog]

Highlight Passage #1 - NKJV Psalm 91: 9-10 … The Lord’s promise of security in our relationship with Him …
  9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil shall befall you, … Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; … 
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Highlight Context – Psalms 91 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   Always safety for the obedient remnant of believers
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Reference Passage #1 - NKJV Psalm 4: 8 … Secured in Christ forever …
8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; 
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. 

Reference Passage #2 - NKJV Matthew 4: 5-7 … GO TO THIS LINK …   Satan distorts God’s word [from Psalm 91: 11-12] to tempt Jesus; and is rebuked by God in the flesh by using the Sword of the Spirit against the enemy …

Reference Passage #3 - NKJV 1st Corinthians 10: 13 … Assurance of dealing with life’s temptations and trials …
  13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David Roper, begins with a scenario which reminded me of a time when I used to stay with my grandparents in their home in Indiana. With them, I slept in their furnished attic which had no heating; and in the winter it would get VERY cold; but my grandmother used to put old baked potatoes wrapped in towels at the foot of my bed; and when she tucked me in, she would say, “You’re as ‘snug as a bug in a rug!’ “ … So when Roper used that phrase in the title of his devotional (which I’ve appropriated today for mine), he reminded me of how secure I felt being tucked in by loving grandparents in that warm bed. 

God wants His children, the remnant of believers in this world, to know that we will always be secure as long as our faith in our God is strong and we’re willing to follow Him. Now, Satan and his world will do all they can to disrupt our fellowship with the Lord and lead us astray in fear. And that’s exactly what the enemy of the Lord tried to do with Jesus in the wilderness (see Matthew 4: 1-11). However, as one can read in the portion of that passage linked above, Jesus dispelled the enemy by using His own living word; and if we can learn to use the sword of the Spirit in that same manner, we can be so much more secure than we will be if we try to turn the enemy away in our own power. 

There is a rather simple formula to promote secure living in this life. … The deeper and more abiding our relationship with God is, the more secure will be our life in Christ. An intimate relationship with Christ doesn’t mean we will have no problems or temptations. It means that we will be more confident and effective in dealing with our trials [see 1st Corinthians 10: 13 above]. So, … the question to promote security in life from my time with God today is … HOW CLOSELY AM I WALKING WITH CHRIST?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I know when I follow You I will be secure. 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, 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, December 11, 2014

December 11, 2014 … The Lion & the Lamb

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 345.

Devotional SongGo to this link          … Once again, please take take in a contemporary song, sung by Brian Doerksen, Creation Calls, … repeated from yesterday’s ODB, reminding us that God is ultimately calling us to be part of re-perfected creation, … where the lion will lay down with the lamb. … And then ON TO THIS LINK  to hear Big Daddy Weave singing, Redeemed, declaring that in Christ we are redeemed from our brokenness and captivity to sin …    

    

Highlight Passage #1 - NKJV  Isaiah 11: 9 … A day when mankind will no longer pollute God’s perfect creation  … 
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea. …
 
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Highlight Context – Isaiah 11: 1-9 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   God’s prophesy of His coming Kingdom on earth
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Reference Passage #1 - NKJV  Isaiah 11: 6 … God will redeem us to dwell with Him in peace …
 6  “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them.

Reference Passage #2 - NKJV  Malachi 4: 2 … Another prophesy of the day to come when God’s glory will come down for the remnant who believe …
 2  But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Jennifer Benson Schuldt, begins with a colorful true story of a young boy who was fascinated by seeing a large venomous snake in a clear plastic display box in a zoo where the boy could view the snake, up close, without fear.   The author’s point was that one day this broken world will be redeemed and restored to the place of perfect peace prophesied in Isaiah, Chapter 11 [linked above for study/reflection]. 


Yes, we now live in a broken world, wracked by man-made pollution, disease, and war, … all brought on by the sin of the first man, Adam, who, along with his sin-bearing partner, Eve, were expelled from God’s created and perfect garden of peace.   But as author Schuldt points out from biblical prophesy, we will one day, due to the redeeming work of Christ, live in a world of peace and perfect harmony, where, as depicted in the attached photo, all of God’s creation will be put right and the lion will lay down with the lamb.

Yes, as Big Daddy Weave sings in the song linked above, we are redeemed; and I don’t know about you, but as the Apostle John wrote in Revelation 22: 20
, I declare loudly today, …  “Even so, come Lord Jesus!”

My Prayer for Today
… Lord, please forgive Your remnant for our selfish stewardship of Your planet; and we are so blessed You have come to redeem us.  So, we pray to come soon to restore us to Your place of peace.   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, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THISLINKo  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.