Sunday, May 31, 2015

May 31, 2015 … All We Like Sheep

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 151

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of Steve Green singing the poignant song, People Need The Lord, reminding us that we ALL need the Lamb of God, Who shed His blood that we might be saved.


Highlight Passage Leviticus 16: 9-10 [ESV] … 
9 And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord and use it as a sin offering, 10 but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel. 
… Two goats for atonement.
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Highlight Context - Leviticus 16: 5-22 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… God establishes a system for the atonement of the sins of His chosen involving the blood sacrifice of one perfect Lamb and covering of another “scapegoat” so that mankind can live
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 53: 6 [NKJV] … 
6 All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, everyone, to his own way; and the Lord has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. 
… The prophesy of the Messiah, the Lamb of God, Who would come to shed His blood for all who would receive His atonement and become the scapegoat.

Reference Passage #2 - Romans 3: 21-23 [ESV] USE THIS LINK … We ALL - everyone - need the blood of the Lamb to atone for our sinfulness. My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Julie Ackerman Link, took her readers (me) back to the elaborate system of sacrifice God established through Moses and Aaron to allow for the atonement of the sins of God’s chosen, the people of God. The atonement sacrifice involved the shedding of the blood of one perfect Lamb, the blood of which was placed on the neck of another lamb, designated as the “scapegoat,” which was allowed to be set free, by lot, and to go out into the world and live [see the passage from Leviticus 16 linked above].

 But God knew that this system would not really allow for His chosen ones to account for their sinfulness; so God prophesied through Isaiah (see Isaiah 53: 6) that one would come as the Lamb of God and shed His blood so that we, as the “scapegoat,” might be saved and set free from our sin. And that Lamb of God, of course, was (and IS) Jesus, The Christ. And ALL of us, as sinners [see Romans 3: 21-23], can become that “scapegoat” when, in faith, we repent and receive the blood covering, offered freely, to any/all who would receive God’s saving grace of forgiveness and eternal life.

 We sinful humans all too often point the finger of blame (see attached photo) at others when we see that one falling short of the mark (which WE impose). But in reality, all of us are that “scapegoat,” aren’t we? And we all need God’s saving grace to free us as HIS “scapegoat.” So, today I pray we all have been blessed to receive - in faith - the blood of the Lamb of God, which The Lord applies to us so that we can be freed to live in this world, as God’s blessed “scapegoats.”

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … You came to shed Your blood so that I, as Your scapegoat, can be free forever, covered by the blood of the Lamb of 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.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

May 30, 2015 … Does He Cry For Me?

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 150

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Ray Boltz singing the poignant and personal song, Does He Still Feel the Nails, expressing the rather tragic thought and question of Jesus shedding tears of pain when we sin … even today?


Highlight Passage John 11: 33-35 [ESV] … 
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 
… Shortest verse in the NT … shows just how much Jesus cares for what we experience. 
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Highlight Context - John 11: 32-44 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… When Jesus, knowing Lazarus had died, saw saw Mary, Lazarus’ sister, weeping, … He wept for her?
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Reference Passage #1 - Luke 19: 41-42 [ESV] … 
41 And when He [Jesus] drew near and saw the city, He wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 
… Jesus, when he drew near Jerusalem just before His passion and death, wept for the sins of God’s chosen ones.

Reference Passage #2 - Luke 22: 41-44 [ESV] USE THIS LINK
… Jesus, praying in Gethsemane ,,, was so grieved His tears became blood

Reference Passage #3 - 2nd Timothy 1: 7 [ESV] … 
7 … God gave us a spirit, … not of fear … but of power and love and self-control. … 
… And let us not forget this truth when we’re fraught with fear …

Reference Passage #4 - 1st Peter 5: 7 [ESV] … 
7  … casting all your cares on Him, for He cares for you … 
… Oh, … how much our Lord cares for us …

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Cindy Hess Kasper, reminds her listeners how sharing tears and memories of loved ones who’ve past can help to remind us of the joys we shared with that loved one during our lives. The author reminded me that often, at a memorial service, we waver between tears and laughter when we remember how much a loved one has meant to us.

 And Kasper also took me back to the emotions Jesus felt for His beloved friend, Lazarus, weeping with His friend’s sister, Mary, when He saw her grief and confusion over Lazarus’ death [see the highlight passage, linked above]. And there was the time when Jesus wept just before He entered Jerusalem for the last time before His passion on the cross [see Luke 19 above]. And hearing the song, linked above, a saved sinner, like me, can’t help but wonder, knowing that Jesus intercedes for me in Heaven, if Jesus sheds tears of anguish when I sin, as He did in Gethsemane and must have on the cross for the sins of mankind.

 But then I remember the promise of Revelation 7: 17 that God will wipe away all the tears of all His faithful children in heaven; and I’m reminded that Jesus is God; … and He is all joy; … and in heaven, He knows what lies ahead in glory for all, like me, who’ve received His Spirit. So, why would He be crying for my sins now; because, though He prays for me and cares for my anguish, He knows that one day I’ll be sharing eternal joy with Him.

 And I [we] simply must remember the exhortation Paul gave to Timothy (and all Christians) in 2nd Tim. 1: 7 and the teaching of Peter to persecuted Christians in 1st Peter 5:7, both Apostles trying to get fearful, any maybe even tearful, believers to remember that we need to cast all our cares and woes and fears on Christ, Who has overcome them all on the cross and who now sits on God’s throne, praying for all of us who have concerns/cares.

 So, let’s just cast those cares today on Him, knowing that He doesn’t have to shed tears for us because He knows that one day we’ll be with Him in glory.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … thank You for taking your tears of concern for us and turning them into Your blood, shed for us that we might live with You in glory. Amen

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

Friday, May 29, 2015

May 29, 2015 … Way Beyond Me!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 149

Devotional Songs: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of Laura Story singing the song she wrote, Blessings, expressing the truth that so often God’s blessings masquerade as challenges in life … and THEN TO THIS LINK  to hear Steve Green singing Find Us Faithful with God’s call for us to trust Him completely, … yes, even when things are totally meaningless.


Highlight Passage Job [ESV] … 
1 And the Lord said to Job: 2 “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” 
… God lays it out to Job …
============ Highlight Context - Job 40: 1-14 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… God putting Job in his place, … letting him know … God is God and he is not!!
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Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [ESV] … 
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 make your paths straight. 
… When things don’t make sense, we must trust that God is leading us.

Reference Passage #2 - Isaiah 55: 8-9 [ESV] … 
8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, … neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. 
… God, through Isaiah, putting us in our place.

Reference Passage #3 - Habakkuk 1: 5 [ESV] … 
5 “Look among the nations, and see; … wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe it told. 
… God sets the Prophet straight from his conclusion.

Reference Passage #3 - Romans 8: 28 [ESV] … 
28 And we know that for those who love God ALL things work together for good, for those who are the called according to His purpose. 
 … Awe common God, … ALL things?!! … REALLY?!!

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Schuldt, opens her teaching by showing how mysterious are the writings of the Chinese to us westerners who don’t have a clue as to how the pictograms have meaning (see attached photo). To me, Chinese writing is more than mysterious. The writings are utterly inscrutable, … sort of like God’s ways at some times in my life. 

I’m not a betting man, … but if I were, I’d wager that anyone reading here with me has had times in our lives when we were clueless as to what God was doing in our life. I certainly have had times like that; and according to God’s word, I’m certainly not alone. … Yes, besides you and me, there were many Bible figures who experienced confusion and confounded emotions over what God was allowing into their lives.

 Think of Joseph being tossed in prison unjustly when he refused Potifer’s wife. … Think of Moses when he was confronted at the burning bush with God’s charge to free His people. … And there was Elijah who was so confused he wanted to die being chased by Jezebel. … And of course, there was Job, a most righteous man, whom God allowed to be felled by Satan. … And finally, I think of Habakkuk, who couldn’t make head’s-nor-tails of why God was allowing His people to sin they way they were in Habakkuk’s times.

 All of them, men of God, saw what was going on in their lives; and just couldn’t make sense of God’s ways. And we’re no different, are we? When things get confusing and confounded around us, we have a tendency to lose faith, don’t we? … But for those who keep-on-keeping-on and keep pursuing their relationship with God - in faith - as did all of the Bible figures above - God will ultimately (as Solomon declared in Proverbs 3: 5-6) honor their faith by setting their paths straight. 

So, please take the time to take in the songs and Scriptures I’ve provided above, and let’s stay the course of trusting God - no matter what’s happening in our lives as Christians. God is GOD; and we are not! And let’s not forget it!!

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … when things get confusing in my life, help me to trust You … and only You … to light my way. Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, 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, May 28, 2015

May 28, 2015 … Way Not Smart !!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 148

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of the group 4Him singing The Basics of Life, expressing our need as Christians to get back to the basics of truth and wisdom found in God’s word.


Highlight Passage Proverbs 30: 2-3 [ESV] … 
2 Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man. 3 have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One. 
… Agur, the writer, admits his lack of Godly wisdom/knowledge …
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Highlight Context - Proverbs 30: 1-4 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… Writer admits his human stupidity and need to pursue Godly wisdom
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Reference Passage #1 - Job 28: 28 [ESV] … 
28 And [God] said to man, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.”
… But when will we humans admit that truth and live in pursuit of Godly understanding?

Reference Passage #2 - Jeremiah 17: 9 [ESV] … 
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, … who can understand it? 
… We must never forget the condition of the human heart.

Reference Passage #3 - Proverbs 1: 2-7 [ESV] USE THIS LINK
… Solomon recognized man’s need for GODLY wisdom

Reference Passage #4 - Romans 7: 15-16 [ESV] … 
15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 
 … Paul’s admission - even as a mature Christian - that he still does stupid stuff!

Reference Passage #5 - 1st Corinthians 1: 20-31 [ESV] USE THIS LINK
… Paul’s teaching on the reality of our human stupidity (i.e., foolishness) and our need to seek the wisdom of God.

Reference Passage #6 - 2nd Corinthians 11: 3 [ESV] … 
3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 
 … Paul’s warning to beware of the devices of Satan to deceive us and drive us away from God’s will and His ways, found in His word.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Mart DeHaan, opened with a riddle, the answer for which totally escaped my intelligence to figure it out.

 The Riddle: What is greater than God—and more evil than the devil? The poor have it. The rich need it. And if you eat it, you will die. 

Have you heard it before or figured it out? The answer can be found [in red] after my disclaimer statement below. But even with a measured IQ of 147 (aren’t we impressed!!), I didn’t get it. Oh, how often we think we’re so smart, … don’t we? … But we’re not, … are we?!!

 Today, in the highlight and reference Scriptures provided above, it becomes quite obvious that we live with a deceit-ridden heart (see Jer. 17: 9); and even mature, prophetically-gifted men like Solomon and the Apostle Paul knew that the only way to solve the riddles of this life were to pursue GOD’S wisdom … NOT the wisdom of the world or of mankind.

 We humans, as the title of my journal entry today states … are just … “WAY NOT SMART!” No matter how smart we think we might be (see the implications of the attached photo), we need to return back, as my devotional song link today sings, “To The Basics of Life!” And those basics are found only in our main source of God’s wisdom and truth, … THE BIBLE.

 That’s why I’m here today and will be here tomorrow, praying that God imparts His infallible will and His very “learnable” ways … through His word, the source of endless wisdom. And this very fallible mind (mine!), has to confess that I too often think I’m SO-SO smart. But so-so often I’m revealed as “WAY DUMB!”

 So …. pray with me today and then let’s go search out God’s wisdom from His word.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … light our path as you promise in Ps. 119: 105 … with the truth from Your word; and show all here, reading with me today, Your way to overcome our deceit-ridden hearts. 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. 

Answer to the Riddle: … “NOTHING”

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May 27, 2015 … In Jesus’ Name

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 147

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of the group Selah singing Press ON, expressing the hope that we, as “CHRISTIANS,” can always press on … in Jesus’ Name!


Highlight Passage Acts 11: 25-26 [ESV] … 
25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. 
… Jesus’ disciples first called “Christians” in Antioch as Barnabas and Paul were growing in His Name.
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Highlight Context - Acts 11: 19-26 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… Jesus’ Apostles, called to witness to His Name
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Reference Passage #1 - Luke 9: 23 [ESV] … 
23 And He said to all,  “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. …”
… Jesus exhorting His followers to really take on HIS Name and follow Him.

Reference Passage #2 - Acts 1: 8 [ESV] … 
8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 
 … Jesus’ command for His disciples to witness in His Name … EVERYWHERE!!

Reference Passage #23- 1st Corinthians 11: 1 [ESV] … 
1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
 … Paul’s confident, yet humble, exhortation for Christians to follow him as he followed Christ.

Reference Passage #4 - Ephesians 4: 1 [ESV] … 
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, … 
… Paul’s exhortation for Christians to live up to their calling as “Christians”

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, opened his ODB teaching today by referring to how nursing graduates of the world’s oldest Nursing School, in England, founded by Florence Nightingale, proudly call themselves “Nightingales” to honor the courageous founder of the school. And this illustrates that what we call ourselves often identifies (i.e., witnesses) to others who we are.

 If you were asked, “Who are you,” … what would you answer? And Crowder, in his highlight reference passage from Acts 11: 9-16 relates how in the ministry of Barnabas and Paul to dispersed followers of Christ in Antioch (i.e., Asia Minor) and to converted Gentiles, who had also come to be believers in Christ, led these disciples - for the first time - to take on the name “CHRISTIAN,” to identify themselves and witness to their faith.

 But back to the question of what we might answer if asked, “Who are you?” And in these days where many in the culture are looking to movie stars and pro athletes for identity, I’m inspired by one of the biggest basketball stars, young Stephen Curry (they call him “Steph”). Curry was recently awarded the NBA “MVP” (Most Valuable Player) award; and he’s currently starring for a team who is trying to win the NBA tournament, playing for the Golden State Warriors. But if Steph Curry were to be asked “Who are you?” … he would likely say … Well you USE THIS LINK to hear his testimony for yourself.

 This amazingly talented pro athlete, who could easily let pride take a hold of his life, sees himself no more than a witness to Christ. Every shot he takes in a game and every victory he experiences, he sees as a way of witnessing His faith to His Lord and Savior, Jesus. So, are we being the witness to Christ that our Lord called us to be (see Acts 1: 8)? Are we living lives which are worthy of our calling - as CHRISTIANS [see Eph. 4: 1]? Are we able to say, as did Paul to other Christians [see 1st Cor. 11: 1 rephrased], … “You can imitate me, because I imitate Christ” … ??

 So, if you were to ask me, here today, “Bill, who are you?” … I’d say, as Steph Curry would likely say, “I am a sold-out follower of Jesus, The Christ!!”

 BTW, … who are you?

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … let me say openly and let my life be a witness to You as my Lord and Savior. I am a CHRISTIAN!! 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, May 26, 2015

May 26, 2015 … Storm Lessons

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 146

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of the group Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing the song All Is Well, expressing the hope that we have in Christ no matter what storms we may face in life.


Highlight Passage Mark 4: 39 [ESV] … 
39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 
… Jesus arises from a nap on a boat in a storm and shows His disciples that He has reign over the wind/waves.
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Highlight Context - Mark 4: 35-41 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… Jesus teaches a faith lesson to His Disciples in a storm
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Reference Passage #1 - 4 - Job 38: 8-11, Psalms 65: 5-7, Isaiah 51: 10, Nahum 1: 3-5 [ESV] USE THIS LINK 
… In the times of the Bible, man’s idea of nature had God in total control of the elements

Reference Passage #2 - John 16: 33 [ESV] … 
33 “… I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
 … Jesus teaching that He alone has overcome the world and the trials we will face in life.

Reference Passage #3 - 1st Peter 5: 6-7 [ESV] … 
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 
 … Peter expresses the only viable strategy in handling the “storms” (trials) of life.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Marvin Williams, opened his ODB teaching today with a story of a family who learned to trust God after hurricane Katrina had devastated their home. And Williams was teaching that we all face “storms” in our lives, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, … any/all of which can challenge our faith.

 And that’s very likely why Jesus used a storm in the story related by Mark in the highlight passage linked above (see Mark 4: 35-41). And when the boat the Disciples were in was engulfed in a life-threatening storm, Jesus was somehow sleeping in the boat, and when He was risen by His fearful crew, He waved His hand (as in the attached photo of a painting which hangs in my living room), and the storm was calmed. And the Disciples were dumb-founded, asking, “Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?” 

 You see, in those times all good Jews, of which all of Jesus’ men were, believed that ONLY GOD controlled the elements of nature [see the links to the Old Testament passages referred to above under Reference #1]; and here was Jesus, demonstrating that He had total control over those elements in that storm. So, Jesus took His men through a faith lesson in that storm that day. The only conclusion they could assume was that the Teacher they were following was God, which was a hard lesson for them to learn and accept.

 But the lesson these men were exposed to in that storm, we all must also learn in our lives; … because we are going to face “storms” (i.e., trials) in life and we must be willing and able - in faith - as Jesus taught, and Peter reinforced (see John 16: 33 and 1st Peter 5: 6-7 above) … that in the midst of any storm, we must look to let Jesus be our salvation. Yes, … Jesus - and only Jesus - is in control of the storms of life; and if we face such storms, He is allowing them, and/or using them, to teach us of His sovereignty in the storms.

 In a storm right now? … If not, we may be tomorrow; so, let’s be ready to let Jesus be our “Overcomer!”

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … In the storm I face right now, I yield to You as You are in my boat with 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.

Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25, 2015 … Sing God’s Love Song

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 144

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of the 60a brother/sister group, Karen and Richard Carpenter, singing the song Sing A Song, expressing the hope that we all sing a song of God’s love and His peace for mankind and the world, … which was unfortunately a song Karen Carpenter couldn’t/didn’t take to heart as she allowed herself to be captured by her own eating disorder.


Highlight Passage Exodus 15: 1a [ESV] … 
1 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; … “
… Moses used song to declare God's glorious deeds/plans
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Highlight Context - Exodus 15: 1-2, 13-18 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… God’s faithful singing of their praises to God for His deliverance …
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 31: 30, 32:1-43 [ESV] USE THIS LINK
… Moses’s song, given for the people to sing praises for God’s deliverance and His salvation.

Reference Passage #2 - Deuteronomy 31: 44-47 [ESV] … 
44 Moses came and recited all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he and Joshua, the son of Nun. 45 And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. 47 For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.” 
 … After composing and singing a song of deliverance to/with the people of Israel just before entering God’s promised land, Moses was singing for God’s glory and charging His people to go forth for His glory.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David C McCasland, takes his readers (me) back to the times when Moses used song to document and declare God’s deliverance and the Lord’s mercy to God’s people as they were being led into the Promised Land (see the songs of Moses from Exodus 15 and Deuteronomy 31/32 [linked above].

 McCasland also used a reference to John Philip Souza, who was called “The March King,” being to the genre of MARCH music what Beethoven was to SYMPHONY music. McCasland wrote, “Souza understood the power of music to motivate, encourage, and inspire people.” And so did Moses in his day. That’s why, I believe, when Moses needed to document God’s wondrous mercy and grace for eternity, to be included in God’s word, he chose to set the record to lyric and music; and in the songs Moses wrote, the lyrics recorded in The Bible (see links above), we see how God desired that His people sing of His glory and His plan for His people.

 If you follow my blogging here daily, I think you know just how important music is to my own devotional life. Everyday, as I journal here, I’m compelled to find a song, as well as a photo, to illustrate what God is faithful to share with me from His word and the ODB devotional each day. Today, it’s a simple song, written and performed by “The Carpenters” back in the 60s, where Karen Carpenter sings for us to “Sing A Song” of love (and I read into it “God’s love”). … Unfortunately, Karen didn’t get the point of the song, dying tragically from her own eating disorder. But her song is a beautiful rendition and a call for all of us to sing of God’s love to live it out in our lives every day. 

Let’s go take Karen Carpenter’s song to heart and sing praises to our God, as did Moses to/for God’s people, and then, let’s live out the song … for His glory in the time we’re given on earth.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I sing along with Karen Carpenter of Your love in my life. and with Moses … to march ahead 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.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 24, 2015 … Fear or Faith?

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 144

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of Fernando Ortega singing the song I Need Thee Every Hour, expressing the need all Christians have, especially when we’re faced with troubles or trials.


Highlight Passage Isaiah 41: 13 [ESV] … 
13 For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; and it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the One Who helps you.” 
… David had learned to rely on God when he was caught in tight places
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Highlight Context - Isaiah 41: 8-13 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… God’s faithful need not fear, for He is with us - ALWAYS!
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 31: 6, 8 [ESV] USE THIS LINK
… Moses encouraging Joshua and God’s people that God would never forsake them as they were about to enter the Promised Land … scary times, requiring more faith than ever to rely on God.

Reference Passage #2 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [ESV] USE THIS LINK
… Solomon knew that trusting in God is the ONLY way to go.

Reference Passage #3 - Matthew 11: 28-30 [ESV] … 
28 Come to me, all 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.” 
… Jesus invites His disciples (that’s us!) to yoke our weaknesses to His strength.

Reference Passage #4 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 9 [ESV] … 
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
 … Paul was caught in a trial of pain when he remembered Jesus’ teaching on God’s grace being enough when he (Paul) was weak.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Dave Branon, uses a personal story of trying to free a chipmunk from netting into which the little guy had become entangled [see attached photo]. But the chipmunk reacted in fear and tried to bite even the hand who was trying to free the chipmunk. … Branon uses the story to teach how we often react to God in fear, when our Lord is only trying to free us from our own selfishness and stupidity. How often do we let fear drive us in the midst of trials instead of holding to our faith in the almighty God who has promised to lift up the righteous and faithful with His righteous right hand (see Isaiah 41: 10, 13 linked/copied above)?

 If you saw my devotional from ODB posted yesterday, you’ll see that I’ve referred to many of the same scriptures for my journal entry today; and I did so because all God wants, especially when we feel trapped or entrapped by life’s circumstances, is for us to trust Him and let Him free us from ourselves.

 So, wherever we are today, especially if we feel caught up in some netting of circumstances, … let us trust our God to set us free and to live in a closer, freer, and more abiding relationship with our Lord.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I rely on Your strength to pull me out of the netting I find myself in 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, May 23, 2015

May 23, 2015 … “Stuck In The Mud”

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 143

Devotional Songs: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of Steven Curtis Chapman singing the lyrics he wrote in His Strength Is Perfect, declaring our need to let our God cover our weakness; … and THEN USE THIS LINK to hear Chapman sing another of his songs, Hiding Place, also expressing our need to trust God to protect us in the storms of life.


Highlight Passage Psalm 40: 1-2 [ESV] … 
1 I waited patiently for the Lord. He inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 
… David had learned to rely on God when he was “stuck in the mud”
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Highlight Context - Psalm 40 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… King David learned, through many instances where he had to rely on God, to trust His Lord’s strength to deliver him in these times of weakness.
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 31: 6, 8 [ESV] USE THIS LINK
… Moses encouraging Joshua and God’s people as they were about to enter the Promised Land … scary times, requiring more faith than ever to rely on God.

Reference Passage #2 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [ESV] USE THIS LINK
… Solomon knew that trusting in God is the ONLY way to go.

Reference Passage #3 - Matthew 11: 28-30 [ESV] … 
28 Come to me, all 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.” 
… Jesus invites His disciples (that’s us!) to yoke ourselves to His strength.

Reference Passage #4 - John 16: 33 [ESV] … 
33 … “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” 
 … God doesn’t promise us that we’ll have no trials, … no, He just promises that HE has overcome those trials and will give us His peace in the midst of the trials.

Reference Passage #5 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 9 [ESV] … 
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
 … Paul was really “deep in the mud” of pain when he remembered Jesus’ teaching on God’s grace being enough when he (Paul) was weak.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Marion Stroud, using the ODB title I copied for my journal entry today, writes of a time when his car was swept off the road and into the mud, where his vehicle was “stuck in the mud” and he desperately needed help. And all of a sudden two young strong boys (like the ones in the attached photo) were there to volunteer to help push Stroud to the road and solid ground.

 We all have times when we get “stuck in the mud” in life, don’t we? Well, King David sure did in his eventful life; and in Psalm 40 [linked above], David writes about what he learned from such times … to surrender and rely on God. And if any reader here takes in God’s truth above in the Scripture passages provided, if you do in fact, as do I, believe that God’s word is ABSOLUTELY TRUE, you’ll have to come away with the realization that God may not take away the muddy times in life; but as our Overcomer, He does provide the grace and the strength to “get out of the mud” and using God’s strength we can overcome our weakness and get back on solid ground.

 If you haven’t done so, please take the time to use the above You Tube links and listen to the songs written and sung by Steven Curtis Chapman; and then meditate on how we can rely on our God to help us get “out of the mud” and move forward on solid ground.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I rely on Your strength to pull me out of the mud. 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, May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015 … Pursuit of “Wisdom” ?

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 142

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of a chorus of the Wabash College glee club alumni singing The Wabash College Alma Mater, and if one looks closely in the video, yours truly can be found in the glee club reunion photos as the Wabash College’s Alma Mater is sung to glorify an education at Wabash College in song.


Highlight Passage Proverbs 3: 13-14 [ESV] … 
13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, …14 for the gain from here (i.e., wisdom) is better than gain from silver and her profit than gold. 
… Wisdom, for Solomon, was worth more than the pursuit and gain of gold/silver.
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Highlight Context - Proverbs, Chapter 3 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… God’s value of wisdom and understanding of His truth is portrayed by Solomon for his son. 
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Reference Passage #1 - Job, Chapter 28 [ESV] USE THIS LINK
… See especially Job 28: 28 Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,and to turn away from evil is understanding 

Reference Passage #2 - Psalm 119 [ESV] USE THIS LINK
… God, through the Psalmist, reveals the value of attaining God’s truth from His word

Reference Passage #3 - Isaiah 55: 11 [ESV] 11 … so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth. It shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing which I sent it. 
… God, through the Prophet, proclaiming the value of His word.

Reference Passage #4 - Romans 16: 25-27 [ESV] USE THIS LINK
… Paul’s doxology proclaims the value of the truth of the Gospel as revealed in God’s word.

Reference Passage #5 - Colossians 2: 1-3 [ESV] … 
1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 
 … Paul’s desire was that all Christians would pursue the great riches of the Gospel which can only be attained when one pursues them in God’s truth [i.e., His word].

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Joe Stowell, reminded his readers (me) that this time of year often finds our culture glorifying the attainment of college degrees as many colleges and universities have their graduation ceremonies. And we believe in our world that the pursuit of such degrees signifies the attainment of knowledge and wisdom, which hopefully can be leveraged into careers, financial success, and worldly influence (see the attached photo).

 Well, in Bible times, the pursuit of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding was also valued greatly; but for a different reason … and the pursuit from a different source. Wisdom, as from the likes of Solomon, Job, and the Prophets in the Old Testament, was attained only from digging desperately and finding it in from God Himself; and that pursuit could only be found - for God’s children - from His word. Hence, from so many OT sources, as in Job, Chapter 28 or Psalm 119 or Isaiah 55: 11, we read the wise men of God, from their experience, writing about the value of wisdom and understanding being pursued from God’s word.

 But unfortunately, we, in today’s world, value the achievement of a piece of paper [i.e., a degree], which declares that we’ve been to a certain worldly institution of so-called “higher” learning, … so that we can show that we know certain things, … so that we can be hired to make others rich. The degree, for so many, is key to success in our world, … which, of course, is totally misguided. Because, if one takes in God’s truth from His main source of His wisdom [see the Scriptures above], truth wisdom can only be attained from gleaning HIS (God’s) understanding from HIS (God’s) truth; and that is from HIS (God’s) word.

 So, the question - from today’s devotional - shouts loudly … Are we digging deeply into God’s truth (i.e., His word) for His true wisdom, which is His key to success in His purpose for our lives?

 Dear one, … that’s why I published my pursuit of His truth here yesterday, and again today; and I will be here again tomorrow, digging into His word for one more gem of truth.

 So, I’ll see you back here tomorrow!

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I dig in Your gold mine of wisdom today for just one more gem of truth from 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.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 21, 2015 … Healing Broken Relationships

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 141

Devotional Songs: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of Wayne Watson singing Friend of a Wounded Heart, proclaiming the healing nature of our Savior, Who is the Healer of broken hearts and relationships … and THEN TO THIS LINK where Queen Latifah sings, Fix Me Jesus, a prayer to the only One Who can truly mend broken hearts.


Highlight Passage Isaiah 61: 1 [ESV] … 
1 … He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted … 
… The Messiah Who come to repair mankind’s relationship with God and mend the hearts of the brokenhearted.
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Highlight Context - Isaiah 61: 1-2 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… The prophesy of The Messiah, the One Who would come to heal the sin wounds of all mankind. 
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Reference Passage #1 - Psalm 23 [ESV] USE THIS LINK
… From the valley of the shadow of death … our Lord is there to comfort and heal the broken hearted.

Reference Passage #2 - Matthew 11: 28-30 [ESV] USE THIS LINK
… Jesus invites any/all to bring our brokenness and burdens to Him

Reference Passage #4 - Luke 4: 18-21 [ESV] USE THIS LINK
… Jesus came to fulfill the ancient prophesy of Messiah.

Reference Passage #5 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 9 [ESV] … 
9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
 … Jesus declares that His grace is sufficient to cover the weakness in any of us who seek His healing for our broken hearts.

Reference Passage #5 - 1st Peter 5: 7 [ESV] … 
9  … casting all your anxieties (cares) on Him, because He cares for you 
… Jesus cares deeply for all, especially those with brokenness to bring to Him for healing,

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David C. McCasland, wrote of a museum in Zagreb, Croatia, … The Museum of Broken Relationships [see attached photo]. McCasland writes that the museum,   is filled with anonymously donated remnants of love gone wrong. There is an axe that a jilted lover used to destroy the furniture of an offending partner. There are stuffed animals, love letters framed in broken glass, and wedding dresses all speak volumes of heartache. While some visitors to the museum leave in tears over their own loss, some couples depart with hugs and a promise not to fail each other. 

 These displays certainly are a testimony to the brokenness that many - if not all - experience when relationships go sour. I certainly can attest to this broken heartedness, because my marriage was almost destroyed by my revealed infidelity a dozen years into our marriage. By all worldly standards - especially today - Elly and I should not be married. But my wife and I experienced what Jesus declared that He, as the Messiah, had come to do for mankind, and that is (see Isaiah 61: 1-2 and Luke 4: 18-19) to come with the anointing of the Holy Spirit to heal the broken hearted and set at liberty those who are oppressed. And our Lord has certainly done that for my wife and I … as we are just about to celebrate 50 years of marriage, 31 of those in Christ. No one can tell Bill and Elly Berry that Jesus can’t heal broken hearts and relationships.

 As Wayne Watson sings (linked above for your hearing) in the “Friend of a Wounded Heart;” and as Queen Latifah so poignantly sings, our Lord can AND WILL fix broken relationships if those with broken hearts are willing to bring them to Him for healing. Jesus is our Good Shepherd, as well as Jehovah Rapha (our Healer); and He can AND WILL lead the broken hearted from the shadow of the valley of death to that garden of healing He promises in Psalm 23. He is there to carry the burdens of brokenness (see Matthew 11: 28-30); but we’ve got to be willing to bring our cares to Him because He cares so deeply for us (see 1st Peter 5: 7 and 2nd Cor 12: 9.

 How about we take our brokenness to Him today and let our Lord do His healing thing.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I pray others experience Your healing touch the way my wife and I have. 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, May 20, 2015

May 20, 2015 … Putting God First

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 140

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of Fernando Ortega singing Give Me Jesus, proclaiming our need to look to and seek Jesus, no matter the circumstances of life … every moment of every day … all the days of our life.


Highlight Passage 1st Corinthians 3: 5 [ESV] … 
5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 
… Putting Jesus first … not other men.
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Highlight Context - 1st Corinthians 3: 1-9 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… Paul warning to focus on Christ and not on men, like Apollos or himself.
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Reference Passage #1 - Matthew 6: 33 [ESV] … 
33 Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things (i.e., worldly needs) will be added to you. 
… Focus on Christ and His kingdom; and all our needs will be ours.

Reference Passage #2 - Luke 9: 23 [ESV] … 
23 And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. …” 
… Jesus, … on how to be His disciple … to deny self and follow Him (and only Him).

Reference Passage #3 - 2nd Corinthians 5: 9 [ESV] … 
9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him. 
 … Focus on pleasing God with our lives.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, C.P. Hia, took his readers today (me) back to the letters of Paul to the church in Corinth, who were being led astray and dividing by following men like Apollos or Paul and arguing over the leadership of these mortal men. Paul in the highlight passages above (see 1st Cor. 3: 1-9) was strongly exhorting the church (and yes, you and me today) to get their focus on Christ … by being HIS disciples [as He taught it in Luke 9: 23], rather than identifying with human teachers/leaders.

 And the timing of this teaching today was auspicious - for me - because just yesterday I was teaching a small group of men, using another devotional teaching by Dr. Robert Jeffress, who was quoting yet another teacher, Dr. Bill Hybels, both of whom were exhorting Christians to PUT GOD FIRST, at the center of our lives (see attached photo). And Hybels wrote that one can answer three questions to see if we are focusing on Christ #1 or allowing our SELF to become our “god.”

Here are the three questions: …
Question #1What or whom did you find yourself thinking about in your free time? … His point - if or when our minds settle, do we focus on our own desires or do we focus on what Jesus teaches … “to seek first the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness,” (see Matthew 6: 33 above). Because if our default thinking is toward SELF, then “self” is our #1 “god.”
Question #2 Whom are you trying to impress? Hybels’ point - if we’re living to impress others in this world, our focus in not on pleasing God [see 2nd Cor. 5: 9 above].
Question #3 For what or whom are you living? And I think the point is obvious to the discerning Christian. If we’re chasing after wealth, power, control, or worldly influence, we’re certainly not doing what God’s word teaches in many of the reference passages above … i.e., to focus on living for #1 - GOD!

Perhaps it’s a good to me to do the Hybels self-inventory and see if God is truly #1 in our lives.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … whatever it takes, bring YOU into my focus as #! in 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, May 19, 2015

May 19, 2015 … Life Hurts - God Heals

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 139

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of the group Point of Grace singing Heal The Wound, proclaiming the reality of our life … painful but in the presence of the Great Healer - our Jehovah Rapha - our healing God, Who can/will heal the wound though He may leave the scars to remind ourselves of other of His healing grace.


Highlight Passage Genesus 2: 8 [ESV] … 
8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 
… The man placed in the perfect garden to be God’s workman …
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Highlight Context - Genesis 2: 7-15 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… God created man, perfect, to work in His garden
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Reference Passage #1 - Exodus 15: 22-27 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… God - the healer of all diseases

Reference Passage #2 - Romans 8: 28 [ESV] … 
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 
… God may heal our physical infirmities - or NOT - but it all is for the good of all who are truly born-again in Christ.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David H Roper, opened her ODB blog with these words … The doctors I know are smart, hard-working, and compassionate. They have relieved my suffering on many occasions, and I am grateful for their expertise in diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medication, setting broken bones, and stitching up wounds. But this does not mean that I place my faith in physicians rather than in God. 

And to those wise words, especially at this time in my life, I say, “AMEN, sister!!” … And why am I so personal at this time? Because this very week I’m to undergo what is called a “cyberknife” procedure for advancing prostate cancer; and this new technology supposedly will allow the physicians to - prayerfully - arrest the cancer with a high-tech form of radiation therapy just developed in the past two years. And this presumedly will be done with minimal side effects. But you’ll note above that I wrote that the procedure will PRAYERFULLY do what it touts; because I will not be praying to the doctors, I will be praying that the cyberknife works to the One Who allowed for the development of this healing technology.

 I will be praying to Jehovah Rapha, our healing God, Who will supersede and oversee my cyberknife procedure; and I will be praying that God sees me through the treatment, giving the radiation-oncologist the techno-skill to arrest the cancer and allow for future hormone treatments to facilitate me gaining more energy to live and to serve my God in the future. That is my prayer (see below) but no matter the outcome, I do - truly - believe in the reality of Romans 8: 28; and the outcome is in the all-capable, all-knowing hands of THE HEALER, … my Lord and Savior, Jesus.

 God created us to serve Him in His garden (see the Genesis 2 passages above); but Adam blew it; and in all of mankind from Genesis 3 onward, we need a Healer; and our God was - and is - that healer. So, today - and perhaps any reading here will join me - I’m praying that God will be our Healer for all our physical, emotional, and spiritual hurts.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I pray, as humbly as I can, for Your healing touch to be with my physicians and their assistants as I undergo this radiation procedure, which You’ve given me peace to pursue. Allow these healers to receive their skill and healing grace from You, Who is THE Healer of all. Amen

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

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 18, 2015 … One Step Closer

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 138

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of the Bill Gaither Band singing Saved By Grace, proclaiming the wondrous reality of the trek we take in this life, toward the next, once we become sinners saved by God’s grace


Highlight Passage Romans 10: 11 [ESV] … 
11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 
… Yes, each day … each step with our Lord - is one step closer to our eternity with Him. 
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Highlight Context - Romans 13: 10-14[ESV]USE THIS LINK
… Paul reminds us that each day of our walk with the Lord is one step closer to Him
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Reference Passage #1 - Ephesians 2: 1-10 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… Paul shows the truth of walking by faith in God’s grace and moving us ever nearer - step-by-step - to the reality of our being with Him in glory.

Reference Passage #2 - Philippians 3: 13-14 [ESV] … 
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 
 … Paul teaches Christians to just keep on keeping on with our walk, following Christ in this life [see Luke 9: 23], because each step forward - with/for Christ - is one step closer to the goal of being with Christ and serving Him in glory.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David H Roper, opened his ODB blog for today with a good word picture of our walk in Christ as saved sinners. He wrote of scaling Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in North America; writing … The climb, though hard-going, was exhilarating, with stunning vistas, beautiful blue lakes, and lush meadows along the way. But the trail grew long and exhausting, a test for legs and lungs. I thought of turning back as the day wore on and the trail seemed to stretch endlessly before us. … Occasionally, however, I caught a glimpse of the summit and realized that each step was bringing me one step closer. If I just kept walking, I would get there. That was the thought that kept me going. 

And that word picture is much like our trek to to the summit of being with and serving our Lord in glory, isn’t it? Some days in following Christ (know the truth of Luke 9: 23) we’ll see glimpses of glory which help propel us forward. However, some days it’s difficult to take even one more step forward; because, like scaling Mt. McKinley, the trek can be exhausting; and even breathing can be difficult. But as Paul also wrote in Philippians 3: 13-14, we must keep looking up, toward the summit, i.e., the goal, of being with and serving our Lord for eternity.

 So, today I look up and move forward … step-by-step … following my Lord to glory.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I’m following You today, … another step closer to being with You in glory. Shine Your light brightly on my path. Help me to see the way to the summit. 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, May 17, 2015

May 17, 2015 … Praise Power

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 137

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of worship at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, the praise team singing Every Praise, proclaiming the reality of the God we must praise everyday and in every way.


Highlight Passage 2nd Chronicles 20: 21 [ESV] … 
21 And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say,”Give thanks to the Lord, … for His steadfast love endures forever.” 
… And God illustrates His power when His children yield to Him in praise.
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Highlight Context - 2nd Chronicles 20: 15-22 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… God’s deliverance and the praises of His people.
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Reference Passage #1 - Psalm 96: 4 [ESV] … 
4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised. He is to be feared above all gods. 
… The psalmist declares the reason to praise our Lord.

Reference Passage #2 - Lamentations 3: 22-23 [ESV] … 
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. 23 They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. 
… Jeremiah declares the truth of God’s faithfulness and the reason He is to be praised.

Reference Passage #3 - Acts: 16: 25-34 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… The great story of Paul and Silas being freed by their faith in God and how God saved the jailer and his family in Philippi.

Reference Passage #4 - Philippians 4: 6-7 [ESV] … 
6 … do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
… Paul, likely inspired by remembrance of the incident in Acts 16: 25-34 (see above), exhorts believers to avoid anxiety through the power of praise/prayer.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, opened her ODB blog for today with a wonderful, true story of a young boy who was snatched off the street by a kidnapper; and about this incident, Schuldt wrote … Willie Myrick was kidnapped from his driveway when he was 9 years old. For hours, he traveled in a car with his kidnapper, not knowing what would happen to him. During that time, Willie decided to sing a song called “Every Praise.” As he repeatedly sang the words, his abductor spewed profanity and told him to shut up. Finally, the man stopped the car and let Willie out—unharmed. 

And that story about the power of praising God in tough circumstances reminded me today of that incident the Apostle Paul encountered when he was jailed on his missionary trip to Philippi. Remember the story when he and Silas sang praises to their God during their imprisonment (see Acts 16: 25-34 linked above). God, in that incident, caused an earthquake and the prison doors to open. But Paul & Silas remained in the prison and the jailer, along with his family, were saved that day because of the faith of God’s emissaries. And later, when Paul wrote back to his beloved Philippians (see Philippians 4: 6-7 above), I believe he was inspired by the memory of that incident, exhorting Christians (you/me) to avoid worry/doubt by thankfully praising God and taking all things to the Lord in prayer.

 As Psalm 96: 4 declares, our God is “greatly to be praised;” and we must carry that desire to praise Him, as did little 9YO Willie Myrick, even when our life might be threatened or we are imprisoned by our fears [as likely were Paul & Silas]. As the song linked above, which little Willie sang when he was kidnapped, declares, there is freeing power in our praises to God. So, let’s go forth today, worshipping God with our praises and our declaration of His greatness to save and protect us. 

Yes, as Lamentations 3: 22-23 declares (see above) … God’s mercies are new every morning —- “great is His faithfulness!!!”

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … You are our God and we praise Your Holy Name … every day and in every way!!! Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, 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, May 16, 2015

May 16, 2015 … Living To Love

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 136

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of Frank Sinatra singing which characterized my life before Christ… My Way; … And THEN USE THIS LINK to see a video which now characterizes the way I do my best to live now, AFTER CHRIST, with Avalon singing You’re Everything To Me.


Highlight Passage 2nd Corinthians 5: 14-15 [ESV] … 
14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised. 
… Living as Christ lived - for God and for others!
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Highlight Context - 2 Corinthians 5: 11-17 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… Paul’s exhortation to be reconciled to Christ and to live as He did
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Reference Passage #1 - Jeremiah 17: 9 [ESV] … 
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
 … This is the heart/flesh with which we were born and will serve without Christ.

Reference Passage #2 - Matthew 5: 14-16 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… Living as lights shining His light into the darkness of the world

Reference Passage #3 - John 13: 34-35 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… Jesus on living to show-n-tell the love of God to others

Reference Passage #4 - Galatians 2: 20 [ESV] … 
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 
… We die to self to live for Christ and unto others.

Reference Passage #5 - Ephesians 4: 1-2 [ESV] … 
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, … 
… Motivated by Christ’s love to live in a manner worthy of our calling as Christians.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, opened his blog for today with a story of what motivated Bobby Jones with his passion for the game of golf. Crowder wrote, … In the 1920s, Bobby Jones dominated the golfing world, despite being an amateur. In one film about his life, “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius,” there is a scene where a professional golfer asks Bobby when he is going to quit being an amateur and grab for the money like everyone else does [as a pro golfer].  Jones answers by explaining that the word amateur comes from the Latin “amo“ — to love.  His answer was clear: He played golf because he loved the game. 

And in this way Crowder was asking his readers (me) to decide what motivates us to live the way we live. How about you? … What drives you to do what you do? … Why do we make the decisions we make and live the way we live?

 Well, if I had been asked to answer those questions about 35 years ago, the song, linked above by Frank Sinatra would have been accurate to describe my life, which was lived MY WAY … for me and for my pleasures. Back then I was motivated by a heart described by the Prophet in Jeremiah 17: 9, … a life lived in the flesh, motivated by a deceitful heart.

 BUT then enter Christ into my life in 1983; and my motivation changed when His Spirit came to dwell in my heart. And the second song linked above, sung by Avalon, began to characterize my motivation for life. And if you read and meditate on the remain scriptures above (i.e., References #2-5), it was the love of my Lord and Savior Who began to awaken in me a new way of living, … for God #1 and for others as well - before myself.

 Oh, … do I fail at times, still having to deal with my “Jer. 17: 9” heart? Of course, I do; but God’s Spirit now is there to convict me and to keep me moving forward to a more abiding relationship with Christ. And I pray the same for anyone in Christ reading with me here today.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … help all here who know You as Lord and Savior to be driven to live like You and to love others the way You have loved 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.

Friday, May 15, 2015

May 15, 2015 … Survivor’s Remorse

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 135

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of the group Hillsong singing … It Is Well With My Soul, written by a remorseful Horatio Spafford, who had lost all of his children in tragedies; but was able with his wife, establish a Messianic ministry in Jerusalem called “The Overcomers”


Highlight Passage Romans 9: 3 [ESV] … 
3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers,[a] my kinsmen according to the flesh. 
 … Tho called to reach out to the Gentiles, Paul had great feelings of remorse for His fellow Jews. 
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Highlight Context - Romans 9: 1-5 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… Paul’s deep empathy for His fellow Jews
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Reference Passage #1 - 1st Kings 19: 4 [ESV] … 
4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 
… Elijah prayed to die. God said “No!” and Elijah moved on to serve God.

Reference Passage #2 - Nehemiah 1: 4-11 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… Nehemiah, with great remorse for the survivors in Jerusalem, prays for God to restore the Temple and attend to His people.

Reference Passage #3 - Jonah, Chapter 4 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… An angry, confused and depressed Jonah prays to die; but God’s mercy saves those in Nineveh and sets Jonah right.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Mart DeHaan, raised the concept of “survivor’s remorse” in his devotional for today, which, of course, is when someone survives a tragedy and others perish or are permanently injured, the empathy of a survivor causes him/her to feel great emotional pain, guilt, or even deep depression.

 And ODB author DeHaan raised the feelings Paul felt for His fellow Israelites found in the highlight passage for today - see Romans 9: 1-5. But this highlight example is not the only example of a type of “survivor’s remorse” in Scripture. Actually there were quite a few, including Elijah’s collapse under the broom tree in 1st Kings 19: 4; … and … Nehemiah praying for God to use him to help restore the Temple in Nehemiah 1: 4-11; … and … Jonah fleeing God and and being swallowed by a big fish in his confusion over God saving the Ninehvites. All of these OT “men of God,” and others, like Moses, Job, King David, and Habakkuk, were - at times - overwhelmed by states of confusion, emotion, and even depression involving their life circumstances; but ultimately, they came to see God’s mercy, love, and kindness in helping them to be restored to serve The Lord again.

 Obviously in our lives, there can be circumstances where loved ones die unexpectedly or perhaps they are tragically injured, and we survive or are spared; and the grief can be almost unbearable. However, as Horatio Spafford experienced in writing the above linked song about the loss of his children, Spafford and his wife were able to trust God, seek His healing grace and mercy to move on in faith. And that’s what we must do if/when we survive horrible circumstances … to allow us - in faith - to move on, trusting that God is truly in control and believing in the truth of Romans 8: 28 … that ALL things do - in fact - work for the good for those who love God and are the called according to HIS purpose.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … help me to trust You when things seemingly go “bad” and I can’t see Your “good.” 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, May 14, 2015

May 14, 2015 … The Humble Hearer

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 134

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of Graham Kendrick leading a worship service and singing … Meekness and Majesty, proclaiming the reality of our lives becoming humble and meek examples of the Christ … Who lived, died, and was resurrected to show us how to live in the wake of His meekness and majesty.


Highlight Passage Luke 18: 14 [ESV] … 
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” 
 … When we respond to the lives of others, do we try to exalt or humble ourselves?
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Highlight Context - Luke 18: 9-14 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… Jesus on our human tendency to be seen as above others
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Reference Passage #1 - John 13: 34-35 [ESV] … 
34 “.. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 
… Jesus on shining His light of love for others to see.

Reference Passage #2 - 1st Corinthians 13: 4-7 [ESV]USE THIS LINK … Love shows itself in the way we see others - or try to be seen by others.

Reference Passage #3 - Philippians 2: 5-11 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… Paul shows how we must seek to be humble as Christ was humble and meek.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Randy Kilgore, illustrated his main devotional theme by telling a personal story of hearing an account by a missionary and judging the man for putting his daughter in a special school to protect her safety. Kilgore was thinking, “I would never stoop to something like that with my daughter!”

 In other words, the ODB author revealed that he judged the missionary for leaving his daughter behind in a boarding school while the missionary and his wife went off to a dangerous mission field. And with this story, Kilgore made reference to Jesus’ teaching in Luke 18: 9-14 [linked above] on how most of us, when we hear/see the lives of others try to exalt ourselves above that other one. And Jesus’ clear point was that our love for others, in Christlikeness, should cause us to humble, rather than exalt, ourselves. And only those who humble themselves before others will be exalted in glory.

  OUCH!!! … Conviction!!! … How often in my trek to mature as a Christian have I tried to exalt myself to be seen as in control or feeling better than someone else? … Too often, I’m afraid! In my position as a ministry leader, I find myself, hearing the story of someone who is contrite and confessing his sins to me, feeling … “Well, at least my past sins were not as bad as this dude!” … Shame on my haughtiness!! I can be - in the parlance of Jesus’ Luke 18 parable - such a Pharisee at times! Let me pray today to seek the humility which Christ teaches and lived himself [see Philippians 2: 5-11].

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I want to be a servant to others in humility just as You were for us. Help me to avoid exalting myself and tear away the Pharisee 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.