Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 30, 2015 … Makeover in Christ

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 120

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of the lyrics sung by Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly, singing their uplifting Christian classic… Beauty For Ashes, declaring the reality of the ultimate makeover of our soul when we receive His saving and sanctifying grace.


Highlight Passage Colossians 3: 9-10 [NKJV] … 
9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, … 
… We do not disobey the God Who has created us and is remaking us into His image. 
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Highlight Context - Colossians 3: 1-11 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… We are to live in obedience to the One Who is making us over in His own image.
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Reference Passage #1 - 2nd Corinthians 5: 17 [NKJV] … 
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 
… Let us relish in the truth that, in Christ, we are new - all new!!!

Reference Passage #2 - 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; … 
… In any truly born-again Christian, God’s Spirit is doing a complete makeover of our heart, soul, and body; and we will be completely remade and new when we join Him in glory.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, related to the modern-day practice of using an image consultant when one becomes powerful or famous to create a new image which will be more appealing to the public. And sometimes that so-called “image consultant” will have make-up artists, hair-dressers, and photographers to remake the target person into a whole new persona, much as in the attached photo.

 But the ultimate “make-over” is found when God is our image consultant. And when He calls one and he/she comes to Him, … our Lord begins a make-over that will recreate that one (hopefully you and me) into His own image. It is the make-over referred to in the highlight and reference Scriptures above.

 And the one to which I identify the most is 2nd Corinthians 5: 17, copied above. And it is the truth from God’s word for which I’ve become a poster-boy. Yes, anyone, especially my wife, who knew me before and after I came to receive Christ as Lord and Savior, would attest to the truth of that verse. Bill Berry, before Christ, was a hardened atheist, compulsively pursuing pornography, and a total failure as a husband and father. Yet, I believe, those who know me now, Rev. Bill Berry, would see a surrendered believer in Christ, compulsively pursuing God’s word; and one who has become (i pray) a devoted, loving husband, father, and grand-father. … OUT with the old … IN with the new … with God moving me toward the complete make-over He has promised in Phil. 1: 6.

 Please, ... for those who can empathize, let us join in a rousing … HALLELUJAH!!!

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, You have chosen to make me over in Your image, to which I surrender and am doing all I can to become more like You today than yesterday … but even more tomorrow than 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.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 29, 2015 … ALWAYS Accessible

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 119

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of the lyrics sung by the group , Third Day, singing the old Christian hymn… Blessed Assurance, declaring the reality of the Christian assurance to worship and serve a God Who is always accessible to its born-again family.


Highlight Passage 1st John 5: 14-15 [NKJV] … 
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
… Yes, we serve a God who is ALWAYS accessible and hears us wherever we are and whenever we come to Him.
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Highlight Context - 1st John 5: 6-15 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle John writes to fellow Christians to bolster their [our] assurance of salvation so that we could hold on to the belief in Christ’s redeeming grace.
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 31: 6, 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.” 
… Just before God’s chosen entered the Promised Land, Moses declares to the people, that our God will never forsake us and even goes ahead of us to prepare the way.

Reference Passage #2 - Romans 8: 14-17, … 26-27 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Paul’s declaration of God’s accessibility through prayer - IN THE SPIRIT

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Joe Stowell, used a teaching illustration with which I’m sure many of us can identify. I think most all with me here today would agree that modern-day smart phones can be very helpful and powerful for reminders and informational searches, … even for Bible studies. However, as in the attached photo depicts, when the cell-phone batteries go dead and we have no alternative power source, these devices become inaccessible and it can be very frustrating. … Can a sense an “Amen!”

 But the Scriptures above point Christians toward a wonderful reality … that we serve a God who is ALWAYS ACCESSIBLE. And I’m going to stop this morning and thank my Lord for never forsaking us (even going ahead of us - see Deut. 31: 8); … for being our Abba Father, available in prayer anytime/anywhere (see the Romans 8 passages); … and as the Apostle John wrote in the highlight passages above, KNOWING that we were saved by a God Whom we can ALWAYS trust to be there and hear our petitions. Yes, … ALWAYS and ANYTIME and ANYWHERE!!! Will you join me in praising our ALWAYS AVAILABLE GOD!!!

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, I know those with me here today praise and thank You for being there for us 24/7, … for hearing us when we pray, … and for interceding on our behalf … ALWAYS!!! 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, April 28, 2015

April 28, 2015 … He Calms the Storms

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 118

Devotional Song: GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of the lyrics sung by Phillips, Craig and Dean, singing the popular Christian song… All Is Well, declaring the truth that in our relationship with Christ, most certainly all is well!


Highlight Passage Matthew 8: 23-24 [NKJV] … 
23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 
… The disciples just didn’t get it yet … that they were in the storm with Messiah in their boat. [Story also found in Mark 4: 35-41 and Luke 8: 22-25]
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Highlight Context - Matthew, Chapter 8 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… The Disciples had seen Jesus cleanse a leper [v. 1-4], heal a Centurion’s servant [v. 5-13] and Peter’s mother-in-law [v. 14-15], as well as many demon-possessed [v. 16-17]; and yet they needed to see Jesus calm the storm to begin to see that Jesus was truly the Son of God [v. 23-27]. 
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Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … 
5 Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on our own understanding. 6 In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.
… Solomon knew the truth, … yet even he had trouble living it out.

Reference Passage #2 - Matthew 14: 22-33 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Another lesson in faith on the sea for the Disciples … Jesus walks on the waters of the storm.

Reference Passage #3 - Romans 8: 28 [NKJV] … 
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. 
… We, born-again Christians, profess to know this truth. Yet, do we live it?!!

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Cindy Hess Kasper, referred her readers (me) to the story, from Matthew, Chapter 8, of Jesus taking the Disciples out on a boat, which encountered a horrible storm (see attached image); and then Jesus was awakened from a nap in the storm by the frightened Disciples; and He, their unrecognized Messiah, calmed the storm.

 Yet, … even hearing their Lord preach the sermon on the mount (see Matthew 5-7) and then seeing Him perform cleansing and healing miracles (see link to Matthew 8 above) as well as to calm the storm with a wave of His hand, in disbelief they said, “Who can this be?” And we know from the rest of the Gospels that the Disciples, even after many, many other lessons of faith, like the feeding of the thousands with a few fishes/loaves, Jesus walking on the waters of another storm, and many others, … they still had trouble “getting it,” until after they saw Him alive after His death at Calvary.

 And aren’t we the same way?

 Yes, … even those of us who’ve had enough faith to surrender, repent of our sins, and believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, when we’re faced with a bad storm in life, many of us have trouble believing AND LIVING in God’s truth - for example Proverbs 3: 5-6 and Romans 8: 28, copied above.

 When are we going to get it? And when are we going live in faith, knowing that God is always in our boat of life with us; and He can calm any storm with our faith in Him as LORD and MESSIAH? I pray soon; because from where I see the world going, we’re going to need that kind of faith.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, calm our storms; and give us the faith to trust in You … no matter what storm we face. 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, April 27, 2015

April 27, 2015 … Gardening for God

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 117

Devotional Song: … Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of the lyrics sung by Steve Green, singing the popular Christian classic… Find Us Faithful, declaring what should be the goal of any Christian to be faithful gardeners in God’s field.


Highlight Passage Deuteronomy 11: 11-12 [NKJV] … 
11 but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven, 12 a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year. 
… We will only be able to shine God’s light on His field in the Promised Land if we are obedient to His will and His ways through His word.
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Highlight Context - Deuteronomy 11: 8-15[NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Entering God’s promised land takes the discipline of obedience
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Reference Passage #1 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] … 
11  Then He (Jesus) said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.” 
… Jesus on obedience.

Reference Passage #2 - John 4: 34-38 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… God’s fields are white unto harvest but the workers are few …

Reference Passage #3 - 1st Corinthians 3: 7-8 [NKJV] … 
7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 
… Paul teaches all Christians must be workers in God’s field of plenty … that one plants … another waters … another is there at the harvest.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Julie Ackerman Link, used the attached photo and an analogy which gardeners would understand to remind her readers (me) that God desires the workers in His field (i.e., His promised land as Moses was teaching in Deuteronomy, Chapter 11 cited above) to be obedient so that He can bring the rains and the warmth of His light to allow His field to be fruitful forever.

 MEANING? … As we prepare to enter His Promised Land (i.e., Heaven), we must do what it takes, with discipline and determination, to be His gardeners, … watering, weeding, and protecting His field from pests. And I think that any believer, reading along with me today, understands the word picture. The Apostle Paul (see 1st Cor. 3: 7-8 above) taught that we also must diligently do our called role in gardening God’s field; … one plants the seed, … another waters, and … yet another will be there at the harvest.

 Gardening is difficult and challenging work; and God has an enemy who will do all he [Satan] can to disrupt the workers in God’s field from being fruitful. But we can, by following God’s will and His way [see Luke 9:23], do whatever it takes to tend God’s fields, which are always white unto harvest, to become fruitful. And fruitfulness always comes from obedience to God’s word. And when we do all we can to obediently fulfill our role in God’s gardening process, the harvest will be plentiful and fruitful for God’s glory.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, give me Your grace to be Your gardener 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.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

April 26, 2015 … Lighting Our Way With Truth

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 115

Devotional Song: … Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of the lyrics sung by Amy Grant, singing her popular Christian classic… Thy Word, declaring the reality and power of God’s word for the walk of the Christian in this world.


Highlight Passage Psalm 119: 105-106 [NKJV] … 
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 106  I have sworn and confirmed that I will keep Your righteous judgments. 
… One man’s commitment to pursuing righteousness with the light of God’s truth.
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Highlight Context - Psalm 119: 105-112 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… The intimate love affair with God’s word a believer expressed so eloquently!
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 55: 11 [NKJV] … 
11  So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth. It shall not return to Me void. But it shall accomplish what I please; and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. 
… God’s word ALWAYS has power for His purposes.

Reference Passage #2 - John 14: 21 [NKJV] ... 
21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 
… Jesus on the results of keeping His word and commandments.

Reference Passage #3 - 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17 [NKJV] ... 
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
 … The profit of God’s truth in our lives.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David C. McCasland, wrote of the power of God’s word in the life of an obedient servant of our Lord. And in Psalm 119, the longest song in the bible, one such believer expresses his love-affair with God’s word and truth. And McCasland’s focus in his ODB entry today was on Psalm 119: 105-112, with which I identify heartily.

I had a mentor years ago tell me, … “Bill, until you pursue God’s word the way the author of Psalm 119 did, you’ll always be vulnerable to losing your way in this world!” … And he was absolutely right!! And so he helped me learn how to interpret God’s truth; and then he walked with me in the contextualization and memorization of many, many passages of Scripture. And my life changed, just as those passages above promise - FROM GOD’S WORD!!

 If you identify with the attached photo; and you believe in what Amy Grant sings in today’s linked song, then you are prayerfully into God’s word and letting the Lord guide you DAILY through life with His truth. But if you can’t see your way to be in the Bible every day, and letting His truth saturate your mind and heart, as my mentor taught me, you’re making yourself vulnerable to our spiritual enemies - Satan, the world, and our own flesh. So, … let me pray against that.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, I pray that any who join me here have surrendered their minds/hearts to the power of Your truth; and may we all consume and pursue You through its light. Amen

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

Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 25, 2015 … Surrender Mode

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 115 

Devotional Song: … Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of the lyrics sung by Israel Houghton, singing the old hymn… I Surrender All, declaring what should be the goal of every true Christian … to surrender our all to King Jesus.


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. 
… Paul, on becoming “living sacrifices” as our worship of King Jesus.
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Highlight Context - Romans 12: 1-8 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Paul on serving God and others with our lives …
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 6: 4-6 [NKJV] … 
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. … 6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. ..." 
… God’s great commandment to surrender all to Him!

  Reference Passage #2 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] ... 
23 Then He (Jesus) said to them all, … “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” 
… Jesus on what it takes to follow Him.

Reference Passage #3 - Galatians 6: 9-10 [NKJV] ... 
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. 
 … We Christians are to ALWAYS give our ALL to help others.

Reference Passage #4 - Philippians 2: 3-4 [NKJV] ... 
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
 … Pretty straight forward, … but do we get it; and do we live it?!

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread used an illustration from the words of President Kennedy’s to make his teaching point today. Kilgore wrote , “During his only inaugural address as the US President, John F. Kennedy issued this challenge to Americans: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” It was a renewed call for citizens to surrender their lives in sacrifice and service to others. His words especially inspired the sons and daughters of men and women who had served their country in war.” 

And we later, after this address, know that Kennedy formed the greatest volunteer army in the country’s history, still extant to this day, with American’s reaching out to help others all over the globe by giving of their time and talents to the PEACE CORPS. And that is Kilgore’s main point today. Shouldn’t we as Christians, especially in the Body of Christ, be THE greatest “peace corps” of all time?

 And that is what the Apostle Paul addressed in his call for Christians in Rome (and for you and me in Romans 12: 1-2) to become “living sacrifices” of worship to/for our Lord, … and rejecting the thinking of the world to “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” In other words, … as Jesus said in Luke 9: 23, we, as His disciples, need to deny ourselves and give ALL we can in following Him.

 And that’s what the Apostle Paul went on to say to the Galatians and to the Philippians [see passages above] as well. And it’s the powerful message of the old hymn, linked above, with Israel Houghton singing, … I Surrender All. … But my conviction rings in my heart here today, … shouting … AM I? … Am I really in full surrender mode, living for my Lord?

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, may all that I think, say, and do be in living sacrifice to You. Amen

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

Friday, April 24, 2015

April 24, 2015 … Hope Abounds

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 114

Devotional Song: … Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of the lyrics written and sung by Laura Story, in her very personal song… Blessings, declaring a very real hope for God’s blessing in the face of life’s trials.


Highlight Passage 1st Peter 3: 6-7 [NKJV] … 
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, ... 
… There will be trials, yes, and heartache; but in all there is hope in Christ …
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Highlight Context - 1st Peter 1: 3-9 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Peter on the hope which comes from faith …
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Reference Passage #1 - John 16: 33 [NKJV] ... 
33 “… These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 
 … Jesus’ promise what He has overcome the world which will cause Christians to face trials.

Reference Passage #2 - Romans 5: 1-5 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Paul on when hope abides in the face of trials/tribulations.

Reference Passage #3 - Romans 8: 24-25 [NKJV] ... 
24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. 
… It is the hope of unseen that abides in the faith of a Christian.

Reference Passage #4 - Romans 12: 9-13 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Christians can let God’s love abide in spite of tribulation, being patient in the faith …

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dave Branon, wrote of a very human tendency to lose hope in the face of human tragedy. He write, “When unspeakable tragedy shatters people’s lives, they search for answers. Recently, a mother who had lost a teenager said to me, “I can’t figure it out. I don’t know if I can believe anymore. I try, but God doesn’t make sense to me. What does it all mean?” There are no easy answers to such big concerns. But for those who have trusted Christ, there is hope—whether we are basking in blessings or grinding through grief.” 

And the tragedy of unspeakable trials and the grief of human loss is why the Apostle Peter wrote to the Christians in Asia-Minor in his first letter. These new Christians, many of whom had fled from Jerusalem, were being persecuted horribly by the Romans as well as by non-Christians in that area of the world. Peter’s letter and encouragement to these persecuted Christians is also echoed by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Roman Christians facing similar abject trials/tribulations in those times [see passages from the book of Romans above], many of them being tortured and killed for their faith.

 Both Apostles were recognizing that we will have trials in this world, but as Peter had heard Jesus say, the night before He went to the cross, we, … as Christians “WILL HAVE tribulation.” [see John 16:33] … Yes, that’s a given; but Jesus, in the same upper room discourse, promised that He - King Jesus - had overcome the world; and that our faith in Him would produce victory over the trials/tribulations - yes, even the persecutions - of the world He had created.

 And so, though we may not be able to make sense of God’s plan when we face, even horrible, tragedy or trials, God, in His Son Jesus, gives us the hope we have in Christ’s victory over death, sin, and evil on the cross. So, if you are in Christ, take heed of the promises which Peter and Paul write of … and the hope we have in our relationship and faith in Christ.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, YOU are our hope in the face of horrible trials. 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, April 23, 2015

April 23, 2015 … Speak Out With God’s Strength

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 113
 
Devotional Song: … Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of the lyrics to Steven Curtis Chapman’s, very personal song… His Strength Is Perfect, declaring a reality of a God Who’ll provide His strength to cover our weakness. … AND THEN THIS LINK  to hear Steven singing another song about God as our Hiding Place.


Highlight Passage Exodus 4: 12 [NKJV] … 
12 “… Now therefore, go, and I [the Lord] will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”
… The “Stage Director’s” pep-talk when Moses had a case of stage fright
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Highlight Context - Exodus 4: 10-17 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Moses with “stage-fright,” afraid to get on God’s stage of deliverance
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Reference Passage #1 - Matthew 11: 28-30 [NKJV] ... 
28 “… Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
 … Afraid? - Let Jesus help you carry the burden.

  Reference Passage #2 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 7-10 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… One big dose of God’s grace is sufficient when fear strikes.

Reference Passage #3 - Philippians 4: 6-7 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… God’s prescription for anxiety - PRAYER.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Lawrence Darmani, reminded me of my first public speaking experience. You know, many surveys have revealed that the fear of public speaking is THE # ONE fear in our culture. Here’s a link to an article - http://www.ethos3.com/2014/10/glossophobia-101-the-fear-of-public-speaking/ - on that subject if you need documentation. Well my first encounter with that fear was in college when I took Speech 101. And when I had to do my first speech for the Professor and in front of the class, I was sweating bullets!!

 But I did it, … and over time, doing it more and more, blunted the fear. Oh, I still get energized by a modest amount of stage-fright when I have speak in public; but I know now that I can take my fears to God and He’ll give me the grace to do what I fear, especially when it’s for His glory. That’s His promise (see the passages from His word above); and I believe it! I pray you do too.

 We all have fears, don’t we? But some fears become phobias, where the fear begins to influence our choices and sometimes even paralyzes our lifestyle. And the Greek-influenced word for the abject fear of public speaking is “glossophobia” (see the linked article). And when such a fear grips our life, the glossophobic will do anything he/she can to avoid having to speak in public. And again, this fear, not necessarily to the point of a phobia, is said to be the #1 fear in our land.

 But like all human fears, or even in the case of phobias, God has a prescription to provide His children with the strength to overcome our weaknesses, just as Steven Curtis Chapman sings in the linked songs above. And those who fear opening their mouths to witness their faith, or to share themselves verbally with others, can take that fear to the Lord and gather His grace which is always sufficient to give us the strength to allow us to do what we fear.

 So today, if any here fear to speak out in witness to your faith, know that God will, as He did with Moses at the burning bush (see the Exodus 4 passage linked above), give you His words and His strength to overcome your fear of speaking out as a witness. Just like Moses, let’s just “GO” and trust God to give us His strength and His words to speak out for His glory.

My Prayer Today: Father God, in Your Son’s Name, I claim Your promise to give us Your strength to cover our weaknesses and fears. You are our hiding place! 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, April 22, 2015

April 22, 2015 … Three Rs in Christ

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 112

Devotional Song: … Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of Big Daddy Weave, singing his revealing song … Redeemed, declaring a reality of who we are in Christ - REDEEMED, RECONCILED, and being RESTORED into the image of Christ.


Highlight Passage Ephesians 4: 32 [NKJV] … 
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
… Can we forgive others the way Christ has forgiven us?
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Highlight Context - Ephesians 4: 20-32 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… In Christ we are REDEEMED, RECONCILED, & RESTORED
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Reference Passage #1 - Lamentations 3: 22-23[NKJV] ... 
22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. 
… His mercies are new every morning for those who love and live in Christ.

Reference Passage #2 - 2nd Corinthians 5: 16-21 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Yes, … we are reconciled unto God.

Reference Passage #3 - Colossians 3: 1-17 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Peace rules in the heart of the redeemed AND surrendered.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David C McCasland, reminded me, as one of his ODB readers, today of the reality of my life since I received God’s saving grace; and it is a lesson in the three “Rs” of salvation.

 Yes, dear one, as Big Daddy Weave sings the first of these “Rs” is … REDEEMED!! … And not only Redeemed, … I’m RECONCILED to my God, from Whom I was once at war; … and finally the final “R” … I’m being RESTORED into the image of God, the Son, … my King Jesus. What a lesson and reminder here in the school of God’s word and the realities of this life He’s given me to serve Him.

 One principle of Bible or truth interpretation I learned years ago was the principle and power in redundancy. And this works itself out in the times when a theme or issue is raised and dealt with in depth repetitively in God’s word. And when one reads and meditates on the multiple passages above from the Pauline letters on the subject of these three “Rs,” one has to be impressed in the fact that those who are in Christ have been Redeemed and Reconciled and are being Restsored in our relationship with Christ. And we must show the results of these three Rs in the way we live, move, and have our being on a daily basis. Paul drilled home the truth of these three “Rs” in the passages from 2nd Corinthians, Ephesians, and Colossians (see above).

 After today’s ODB and my meditation, I’ve had to ask myself: … Can I forgive others the way I’ve been forgiven by my Lord? … Can I be a living sacrifice for others the way King Jesus was a living sacrifice for me? … Or can I surrender my all for my God today the way He surrendered His all for me on that cross?

 Tough questions demand tough answers, … for which I must recognize God’s three “Rs” in my life and live to realize them every day.

My Prayer Today: Father God, in Your Son, You have redeemed me, reconciled me to Yourself, and are restoring me in Christ’s image. So, … may I live to realize these truths by becoming a living sacrifice for 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.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 21, 2015 … Way Impossible!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 111

Devotional Song: … Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of group, Planetshakers, singing their uplifting song … Nothing Is Impossible, declaring reality of God’s ability to give us strength in the face of the seemingly impossible. … And then ON TO THIS LINK where Fernando Ortega, beautifully sings, I Need Thee Every Hour with the lyrics to this old hymn, which give us the confidence afforded by a Lord we need every moment of every day.


Highlight Passage Joshua 6: 2 [NKJV] … 
2 And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. 
… When the battle seems impossible, like Joshua, we turn it over to God.
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  Highlight Context - Joshua 5:23 - 6: 27 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… God’s in the impossible business.
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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 will direct your paths. 
… Solomon declared it. But do we believe it; and even more importantly, do we live it?

Reference Passage #2 - Matthew 19: 26 [NKJV] ... 
26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 
… He is LORD; but do we believe Him?

Reference Passage #3 - 1st Corinthians 10: 13 [NKJV] ... 
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. 
 … Paul’s exhortation about God’s strength being there when we need it desperately, … yes, even when life seems impossible.

Reference Passage #4 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 7-10 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK ... 
… Paul, depleted and in pain remembers the teaching of Jesus Whose grace is ALWAYS sufficient when we need it.

Reference Passage #5 - Philippians 4: 6-7 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Impossible? … Anxious?! … Well, what then? … Yes, … we’re to pray with a thankful heart, trusting that God will hear us.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Marion Stroud, introduced his entry today with a personal story, illustrating that life can present some pretty impossible situations at times. And if so, what do we do?

 Well, author Stroud then used a very familiar Bible story to bring his message today … that there are situations in life that may seem - or even be - impossible by human standards. But if you’ve taken in the linked songs and the highlight/reference Scriptures above, we see what God’s word clearly says about such situations; and we see what Joshua did when he was presented with one of those “impossible” situations in the taking of the heavily-walled city of Jericho as God’s people entered the Promised Land.

 The question for this disciple of Christ is - “Do I really believe God’s willingness and ability to handle my tough situations, especially those seemingly impossible ones?” … Well, in two of the passages above (see Prov. 3: 5-6 & Phil. 4: 6-7), our God gives us His prescriptions for dealing with the anxiety of life’s tough circumstances. … And I’m dealing with my own conviction that I need to be more trusting and less anxious.

 How about you? Yes, … take in all of the above and see where you stand when it comes to facing life’s “impossible” circumstances.

My Prayer Today: Lord, help me in my unbelief, … especially when faced with life’s real crunchers. Oh, my Savior, how I need You every hour! 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, April 20, 2015

April 20, 2015 … He Ran To Me

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 110

Devotional Song: … Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing their poignant song … He’ll Do Whatever It Takes, declaring reality of God’s love and mercy offered to anyone, no matter how desperate, to allow that one to return to the Father and His Kingdom; … and THEN TO THIS LINK to hear the same group singing His Grace Still Amazes Me with more about God’s AMAZING GRACE


Highlight Passage Luke 15: 20 [NKJV] … 
20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. …” 
… God’s so love so great for a prodigal that He runs to embrace the repentant son.
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Highlight Context - Luke 15: 11-24 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… God’s love for a prodigal.
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Reference Passage #1 - Lamenations 3: 22-24 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK 
… God’s amazing, unending, ever-searching, ever-forgiving mercy.

Reference Passage #2 - John 3: 16-17 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… God’s love so great that He ran to the cross to save me!!!

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Poh Fang Chia, took his readers (me) to the most poignant scene in one of the most beloved parable Jesus ever used to relate WHO He was and what He was all about, having come to save mankind; and that it the poignant story of the so-called “Prodigal” in Luke 15 (see an abbreviated portion linked above). 

Generally we use the term “prodigal” in this story to refer to the son; because the basic meaning of “prodigal” means “to lavish extravagantly,” often referring to foolishly using ones money or resources to gain favor with another. Well, the son certainly was extravagant with his foolish use of the father’s inheritance, ending up in the pig sty after blowing all his father had given him. But the term “prodigal” could also apply to the father as well, who, when he saw the son had returned, lavished his love upon the returning prodigal son [see attached photo].

And that’s probably the most personal story, from Jesus’ own mouth, of what our Lord came to mankind to do … to lavish His love on His prodigal sons and daughters, to show them the ultimate in lavish love, by taking their sins upon Himself and showing us nothing by His love by dying for us on that cross [see reference Scriptures above].

 Now today I can walk about wearing my Lord’s, … my Prodigal Father’s, robes of righteousness rather than having to wear the rags of sin I once wore when I was in that pig sty of sin where I used to live as His prodigal son. I know I have that amazing grace which Phillips, Craig, and Dean sing about (linked above). And I will be with my Prodigal Father forever because He ran to me when I came back to Him with a repentant heart.

 What about you? Are you a “prodigal” son or daughter? Do you need to run back to your Prodigal Father as I did years ago in brokenness? Because if you do, He’s waiting to see you coming back, … and to run to you with His love.

My Prayer Today: Lord, Thank You for running to me when I came to You in brokenness on that day in April, 32 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.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 19, 2015 … It’s All His

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 109

Devotional Song: … Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of Brian Doerksen singing his poignant song … Creation Calls, declaring the majesty of a God Who has created all of this world for Himself and has allowed us to share in it.


Highlight Passage Psalm 24: 1-2, 9-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Who is this King of Glory?!!
============ Highlight Context - Psalms 24 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… All He has created is HIS.
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Reference Passage #1 - Genesis 1: 28-30 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… And our Lord created all of this world … for His glory - and for us!

Reference Passage #2 - Psalm 19: 1, 14 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… All He has created glorifies our Father and His Son, King Jesus!

Reference Passage #3 - Colossians 1: 15-17 [NKJV] ... 
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 
… It’s all HIS … FROM Him and FOR Him!

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Jennifer Benson Schuldt, used a personal story of buying a display map of the world for her son. She wrote … "I knew my son would enjoy receiving a map of the world for his birthday. After some shopping, I found a colorful chart of the continents, which included illustrations in every region. A birdwing butterfly hovered over Papua, New Guinea. Mountains cascaded through Chile. A diamond adorned South Africa. I was delighted, but I wondered about the label at the bottom of the map: ’Our World’." 

 Author Schuldt was bothered because she knew that label on the map was not correct and it took away from the truth that all we see around us and all we experience in this world, which is not ”Our World.” … And that truth is heralded by all the glory we see and experience in God’s creation, which we see touted in the song linked above and especially by God’s own declaration in His world (see the passages copied/linked above).

 And I will write no more … just pray that we all take in these truths and do all we can to steward God’s world and thank Him for giving it to us … for our enjoyment and even more, for His glory.

My Prayer Today: Lord, I’m sure I’m joined here by others who will join me, praising You and thanking You for all you have created which lauds 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.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

April 18, 2015 … Waiting for His Strength

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 108

Devotional Song: … Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of Steven Curtis Chapman singing his poignant song … His Strength Is Perfect, declaring the reality that God imparts His grace and strength to all believers who wait on Him.


Highlight Passage Isaiah 40: 7, 31 [NKJV] … 
7 The grass withers, the flower fades . . . 31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. 
… God’s Spirit is there for believers who need HIS strength.
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Highlight Context - Isaiah 4: 6-11, 28-31 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK                
… God’s enabling grace is there for those who wait on the Lord … God’s enabling grace is there for those who wait on the Lord
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Reference Passage #1 - 1st Kings 19: 1-9 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Elijah runs from Jezebel and exhausted, finds strength from God

Reference Passage #2 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 7-10 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Paul, depleted and in pain remembers the teaching of Jesus Whose grace is ALWAYS sufficient when we need it.

Reference Passage #3 - Philippians 4: 13 [NKJV] ... 
13 I can do all things through Christ Who gives me the strength. 
… Paul’s exhortation about God’s strength being there when we are in discontent.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Mart DeHaan, relates an illustration about how African game wardens learned to track and capture the fastest animals on earth, Cheetahs, when they were killing the livestock of locals in Kenya. They learned to chase them with motorized vehicles until the cheetahs were exhausted and could be easily tranquilized for transfer to game reserves.

 I’m sure any believer reading here, as well as I, have come upon times when physical or emotional exhaustion rendered us vulnerable to our spiritual enemies. Elijah certainly experienced that when he was running from Jezebel, which can be found in the linked passage above from 1st Kings 19: 1-8. But Elijah discovered the truth of what the Prophet Isaiah taught in the highlight passage above (see Isaiah 40: 31) … that those who are willing to wait on the Lord can/will renew their strength and not faint.

 The Apostle Paul remembered such a teaching from Jesus when he was overwhelmed by the pain of that unknown “thorn,” about which we read in 2nd Cor. 12: 7-10 (linked above). He remembered Jesus saying that God’s grace is sufficient for us when our strength is gone. Paul also reported [see Phil. 4: 13] what Steven Curtis Chapman sings (link above), that God’s strength is perfect when our strength is gone. And I pray today that any who are wiped out in their own flesh are willing to wait on God’s grace and strength to allow us to move forward in His mighty Name.

My Prayer Today: Lord, I pray that any here, reading with me today, who need Your strength will be willing, as did Isaiah and Elijah, to wait on Your strength to lift us up in these times of trial, pain, or weakness. 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, April 17, 2015

April 17, 2015 … Gifted Body

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 107

Devotional Song: … Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing the poignant song … Your Grace Still Amazes Me, declaring the reality that God imparts His grace to all believers to do His work and give Him glory in this world.


Highlight Passage 1st Corinthians 12: 4 [NKJV] … 4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 
… The gifts of the Spirit equip the unified Body to do Christ’s work in the world.
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Highlight Context - 1st Corinthians 12: 1-11 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Many gifts - one Body in Christ.
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Reference Passage #1 - Romans 12: 3-8 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Serving God through the gifts He imparts to glorify Him in our lives as Christians.

Reference Passage #2 - Ephesians 4: 1-16 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… We are unified as the Body of Christ by the diversity of God’s grace in His gifts

Reference Passage #1 - 1st Peter 4: 10-11 [NKJV] ... 
10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 
… We minister to one another in the Body of Christ with our Spirit-imparted gifts.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by C.P, Hia, relates a story of a Pastor who was overwhelmed by His wife’s illness and his responsibility as a Shepherd of God’s Body.

 Hia writes: A pastor’s wife was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. That put the family in a difficult, stressful situation. The pastor wondered how he was going to be able to take good care of her while he still had responsibilities for his church family. But he needn’t have worried because church members stepped up and volunteered to assist him with meals and some of her care. 

 And the Apostle Paul and Peter wrote to the early Church about this concept, which can be found in the writings copied and linked above from Romans 12, 1st Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, 1st Peter 4. I hope you’ve taken the time to take in the passages I’ve provided above as well as the attached photo and linked song. Because if you have, as a Christian, you should be asking yourself, ”What are my Spiritual gifts; and am I using them within and through the Body of Christ (i.e., the Church) for God’s glory?”

 We Christians have at least one Spiritual gift, imparted to us by God’s Spirit. Perhaps yours is hospitality and you find it easy to invite others into your home and life to provide a meal or fellowship or help. Maybe your gift is teaching; and you see that the best way you can serve God is teaching a Sunday School class, mentoring a lesser mature Christian, or sharing God’s word with others in a small group in your church. Or maybe your gift is leadership; and you’ve been called to lead a ministry or to be an Elder in your Church. No matter what our gifts might be, they were given to us God’s grace to equip us to serve Him for His glory through the unified Body of Christ.

 So, let’s go forth today, with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and do all we can to use our gift, or gifts, for God’s glory!!

My Prayer Today: Lord, right now, in this blog, I pray that You use my gifts of teaching and encouragement for 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.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

April 16, 2015 … Face to Face!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 106

Devotional Song: … Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of Jeremy Camp, singing the poignant song … There Will Be A Day, declaring that we, as Christians, can hold on to the hope of glory and heaven when we will see Jesus, … FACE-T0-FACE.


Highlight Passage Revelation 22: 1 [NKJV] … 
1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 
… John shown some of the wonders of heaven.
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Highlight Context - Revelation 21:22-22:5 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Holding on to the hope of heaven in this life for the glory that will be ours in Christ forever! 
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Reference Passage #1 - 1st Corinthians 13: 12 [NKJV] ... 
12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 
… Now only our faith holds on to the hope of glory when we will see Jesus - face to face!

Reference Passage #2 - 2nd Corinthians 5: 7-8 [NKJV] ... 
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. 
… Now we walk by faith; but one day, being absent in the body, at death, we’ll be present with our Lord in glory!!

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David H Roper, relates a personal story of a young boy who had just lost his grandfather; and the boy was relating that he imagined seeing his granddad in heaven, who, having loved to fish for trout with his grandson, would one day show his grandson all the best fishing holes in heaven.

 And that’s the hope of heaven that we, in Christ, have. As the Apostle Paul wrote (see the reference passages above), when we leave this world, we will be in glory, seeing our Lord face-to-face. We will be in that grand new city - the New Jerusalem - which was described by the Apostle John in his Revelation (see Revelation, Chapters 21-22, partially linked above).

 How glorious will it be?!!

My Prayer Today: Lord, though I look through a glass darkly in his world I hole on to that hope to see you face-to-face one day in glory. And how glorious it will be!! Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, 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, April 15, 2015

April 15, 2015 … “I give up !!”

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 105

Devotional Song: … Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of Steven Curtis Chapman, singing the song he wrote … His Strength Is Perfect, declaring that our strength needs God’s to deal with the challenges of life.


Highlight Passage Matthew 26: 39-40 [NKJV] … 
39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” 
… Temptation is not sin, especially when it brings us to our knees to surrender to God’s will.
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Highlight Context - Matthew 26: 36-46 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Even Jesus, in His humanity, could be overwhelmed by temptation
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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 will direct your paths.
… Solomon declared it. But do we believe it; and even more importantly, do we live it?

Reference Passage #2 - Romans 8: 28 [NKJV] ... 
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. 
… One of Paul’s toughest admonitions to live by.

Reference Passage #3 - 1st Corinthians 10: 13 [NKJV] ... 
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. 
… Temptation [in the Greek - “peirasmos” - pronounced “pie-ras-‘mas”] also translated “test, trial, trouble, tribulation” depending on the circumstances.

Reference Passage #4 - 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Paul, overwhelmed with horrible pain and suffering, which he tried to pray away, … then he remembered a lesson given to him by Jesus on humility and trusting in God’s grace - ALWAYS!

Reference Passage #5 - Philippians 4: 6-7 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… God’s prescription for dealing with anxiety … Even Jesus dealt with it.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Anne Cetas, focused her journaling on dealing with temptations, as did Jesus when he was confronted with His impending sacrifice on the cross when He was led into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray (see the highlight passage from Matthew 26, linked above).

 And I’m sure all reading here with me have dealt with situations or circumstances in life where we want to cry out … “ENOUGH!!! … Or we felt like declaring my title today … “I give up!” Ever been there? I’d bet you have.

 Well, as author Cetas wrote, this was the place where Jesus was in the highlight passage, led by God’s Spirit into that garden on the Mount of Olives just hours before He’d be betrayed and led to the horrible crucifixion. And we even read in Matthew 26: 39-40 [copied above] that Jesus, in His humanity would have desired that this cup of death be taken, by God’s Spirit, from Him. But we know that He also knew, in His divinity, that Abba Father’s will must be fulfilled.

 You probably have heard, as Anne Cetas wrote about today in the ODB entry, that … “God will never allow a Christian to be challenged (i.e., tempted or tested or tried) beyond what he/she is able to withstand; and often 1st Corinthians 10: 13 [see above] is quoted; and it’s a correct reference for this truth. Because, when Paul, wrote about being tempted in that passage, he used the Greek concept “peirasmos,” which can be translated several ways based on the circumstances of the time/moment the concept is used. Besides “temptation,” which is often used in the translation, it can also mean “test, trial, trouble, or tribulation;” and most certainly any, or all, of those translations could be used to describe what Jesus was facing the night He prayed in Gethsemane.

 Paul also faced a similar test himself when he wrote about dealing with an overwhelmingly painful “thorn,” which he wrote about in 2nd Cor. 12: 7-10 [linked above]. And he did all the right things, … praying - over and over - for God to remove that “thorn. ” But then he remembered a life lesson Jesus had taught him; and he realized that he needed that “thorn” to keep him humble so that he could receive and use God’s enabling/empowering grace.

 My friend. today you may be dealing with some painful or overwhelming “thorn,” which is trying or testing your well-being and faith in truths like Prov. 3: 5-6 or Romans 8: 28 [above]! But we need to go where Jesus went when He was overwhelmed and wanted to give up “the cup” of death He was to have to drink. We may be in a place where we want to cry “Uncle!” … or “NO MAS!” (Spanish for “No more!”) … or we simply want to give it all up. … But God is calling us as He did His Son and His Apostle, Paul, … to receive His saving or sanctifying grace and let His Spirit give us the strength to move on. [Please use the link above and take in the song, for which Steven Curtis Chapman wrote the lyrics when he tragically lost his little daughter.]

My Prayer Today: Lord, it’s tough right now; and I’m tempted to want to give it all up; but I surrender to You, Holy Spirit, to help me move on with Your strength to cover my weakness. 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, April 14, 2015

April 14, 2015 … What? Me Worry?!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 104

Devotional Song: … Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of Alan Jackson, singing the old hymn… What A Friend We Have In Jesus, exhorting Christians to take all our burdens to the Lord in prayer ,,, And THEN ON TO THIS LINK  … to hear Gary Chapman, singing a similar message in another old hymn, written by an African American song writer, Charles Tinley … Leave It There. Yes, I know these are repeated from my blog of yesterday; but there’s no need to come up with new illustration songs when these are perfect for today’s blog as well.


Highlight Passage 1st Peter 5: 5-7 [NKJV] … 
5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” [Prov. 3: 34] 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 
… A course in stress reduction 101.
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Highlight Context - 1st Peter 5: 1-10 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK … Reducing stress in life - anyone interested?
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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 will direct your paths. 
… Solomon declared it. But do we believe it; and even more importantly, do we live it?

Reference Passage #2 - Matthew 6: 33-34 [NKJV] ... 
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. 
… In our stress-filled life, do we apply God’s #1 crash course in worry free living… following Jesus!

Reference Passage #3 - Romans 8: 28 [NKJV] ... 
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. 
… One of Paul’s toughest admonitions to live by.

Reference Passage #4 - 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Paul, dealing with horrible pain and suffering, which he tried to pray away, … then he remembering a lesson given to him by Jesus on humility and trusting in God’s grace - ALWAYS!

Reference Passage #5 - Philippians 4: 6-7 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… God’s prescription for dealing with anxiety … What, me worry?!!

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by David C McCasland, also quoted Oswald Chambers today, who wrote (with a bit of enhancement), “I will never think of anything that [God, my Father] will forget, so why should I worry?” 

And McCasland’s point is that it is fruitless for us to worry about stuff over which God has total control. Corrie Ten Boom, the famous Dutch evangelist, was quoted to have said, ”Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”

 And these quotes sparked a memory from my childhood, when “Mad Magazine” was first published back in the mid 50s [see attached photo]; and almost every publication had the fictitious character of Alfred E. Neuman on the cover, using the logo phrase, "What? … Me Worry?!" Neuman was pictured to be a goofy looking, but impish, character that was wise and carefree in a world that was becoming more and more ominous … as the cold war escalated.

 Today, I charge any reader here to go back and use the song links, which I also used in my blog yesterday, and meditate strongly on the highlight and reference Scriptures above. This is my strong exhortation; because … today, in our 21st Century stress-laden world, we need more of the Alfred E. Neuman philosophy in our lives. But even more than that, we need the stance of living taken by Jesus, when He preached, during His sermon on the mount [see Matthew 6: 34], of surrendering our cares, just as the Apostle Peter also wrote in today’s highlight passage … to cast ALL our cares on God, … because He so cares for us, and even more because our God is SO in control! The question, from God’s word above is … Do we believe Him? And do we live the “What? Me Worry?” lifestyle? 

Yes, … I need more of Alfred E. Neuman’s attitude in my life; but even more faith in my God! … How about you?

My Prayer Today: Lord, as I wrote yesterday in my prayer, I surrender again today, doing what Peter exhorted me to do … to take my cares - ALL of them - to You in prayer because You care for me and because You are God and I am not!! 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, April 13, 2015

April 13 2015 … But Then, … Pray!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 103

Devotional Song: … Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of Alan Jackson, singing the old hymn… What A Friend We Have In Jesus, exhorting Christians to take all our burdens to the Lord in prayer ,,, And THEN ON TO THIS LINK  … to hear Gary Chapman, singing a similar message in another old hymn, written by an African American song writer, Charles Tinley … Leave It There.


Highlight Passage 1st Samuel 23: 2, 4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… When confronted with enemy forces, David’s first out was to pray
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Highlight Context - 1st Samuel 23: 1-5 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… First option … pray!
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Reference Passage #1 - 2nd Chronicles 7: 13-15 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… When the pressures of the world are overwhelming, what are we to do … PRAY!!!

Reference Passage #2 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] ... 
5 Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. 6 In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. 
… Solomon declared it. But do we believe it, and even more do we pray and live ti?

Reference Passage #3 - Ephesians 6: 18 [NKJV] ... 
18 … praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints … 
… In our spiritual battles, do we apply God’s #1 battle strategy, … prayer?!!

Reference Passage #4 - Philippians 4: 6-7 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Anxious?! … Well, what then? … Yes, … we’re to pray with a thankful heart, trusting that God will hear us.

Reference Passage #5 - 1st Peter 5: 7 [NKJV] ... 
36 Casting all your cares on Him because He cares for you. 
… Really?!! Do we?

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Jennifer Benson Schuldt, quoted the stalwart devotional writer Oswald Chambers, to make her main devotional point. Chambers wrote, “God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.” 

I”m sure you’ve read the stories in THE BOOK. … How many times do we read it, playing out in the lives of the giants of the faith, in the Old and New Testaments? What did Moses do when he was pressed against the Red Sea during the exodus of God’s people from Egypt? … He trusted in God and prayed. … What Did Elijah do when he was exhausted and depressed under that broom tree, being pursued by Jezebel? … He prayed to die; and aren’t we glad that God doesn’t say “YES” to all our prayers? … And what did Jonah do when he was in the belly of the big fish? … He prayed - BIGTIME!! … And what did Nehemiah do when he learned that the walls of Jerusalem needed to be rebuilt? … He prayed a prayer of repentance and restoration. … And what did Habakuk do when he was confused and confounded by what he observed God doing with His people in Judah? … He took His confusion to God in prayer!!! … And finally, what did Jesus do … over and over and over again, … when He needed the power of His Holy Spirit to deal with His humanity and the world on His trek to the cross? … He got alone and prayed to His Heavenly Father!!

 Are we getting the picture? Do I really need to explain the ODB author’s exhortation any further? I hope not; because I’m not smart enough or a clear enough writer to make the point made above from God’s word that PRAYER IS ALWAYS OPTION #1 when life hits a rough spot in the road.

 So, this morning I’m duly convicted that I too often take on the burdens of life, trying to be a controlling, lone-ranger Christian, before I use God’s primary burden-carrying, life-sustaining battle strategy; and what is it? _________________ You fill in the blank; and then, after meditating on the song links above, … let’s go do it!

My Prayer Today: Lord, I do it here, doing what Peter exhorted me to do … to take my cares - ALL of them - to you in prayer because You care 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.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

April 12 2015 … To God Be the Glory!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 102

Devotional Song: ... Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in a video of Brian Doerksen, singing his poignant song … Creation Calls, declaring the truth of God’s creation and His call to believe!! ,,, And THEN ON TO THIS LINK … to hear the late Andrae Crouch, with a chorus, sining To God Be the Glory.


Highlight Passage Ezekiel 29: 8-9 [NKJV] … 
8 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Surely I will bring a sword upon you and cut off from you man and beast. 9 And the land of Egypt shall become desolate and waste; then they will know that I am the Lord, because he [Pharaoh] said, ‘The River is mine, and I have made it.’ 
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Highlight Context - Ezekiel 29: 1-9 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Pharaoh claimed that the Nile was his! … Bad choice!!!
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Reference Passage #1 - Exodus 20: 1-3 [NKJV] 
1 And God spoke all these words, saying: … 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. 
 … The first of His Ten Commandments.  … And God means it!!! 

Reference Passage #2 - Psalm 19: 1 [NKJV] 
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. 
… David declared it. But do we believe it?

Reference Passage #3 - Isaiah 42: 8 [NKJV] … 
1 I am the Lord, that is My name. And My glory I will not give to another, … 
… And anything we place between our God and our path, He will curse!

Reference Passage #4 - Romans 11: 36 [NKJV] 
36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. 
… And let us not forget it!!

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Lawrence Darmani, took his readers (me) back to the OT times when Pharaoh claimed that the great Nile river was HIS, … created in and for him as Pharaoh. And God (in the highlight passages from Ezekiel 29) reminded this earthly king as to know exactly whom he was in the grand scheme of things.

 And unfortunately it’s too easy to giggle and say to ourselves, “Whom did that dude think he was,” claiming that the Nile, created by God, was his; and then we look at something in this world, and claim it to be our own, saying … “That’s mine!”

 But if you’ve taken in today’s photo image from Psalm 19: 1, the linked songs, and the reference Scriptures from the ODB author, we are reminded, especially by Paul in Romans 11: 36, that ALL THINGS are FROM God and were created FOR Him in this world and in our lives. And we’re also reminded - FORCEFULLY - by no less that the first of The Ten Commandments from God [see Exodus 20: 1] that our Lord will have no other gods or idols to come before His Holy Name.

 So, as Brian Doerksen sings above, “Creation Calls,” and as Andrae Crouch sings, “To God Be the Glory!”

My Prayer Today: Lord, everything around me reminds me that You are my God! 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.