Tuesday, June 30, 2015

July 1, 2015 … Light of the World

Blogger Note:  This blog is being published a day early due to preparations for our travels to Alaska for a 50th anniversary cruise.  During our travels, from July 1-12, I may have to post my blogs somewhat off my normal daily morning schedule.  However I will be doing all I can to maintain my daily discipline of my time with God and His word.  ... WRB 

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 182

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of the St Olaf College Choir singing Even When He is Silent, Illustrating the beautiful result of the rehearsal discipline of this famous Christian college choir … i.e., beautiful music sung to glory of God.


Highlight Passage John 4: 16-18 [ESV] … 
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 
… King Jesus is the Light of the World
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Highlight Context - John 4: 1-30 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… The Samaritan woman at the well is willing to be vulnerable as to her failures and let Jesus save her.
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 Reference Passage #1 - John 3: 17 [ESV] … 
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 
… Jesus declares to the Sanhedrin Pharisee, Nicodemus, that He was God’s Son sent to save the world.

Reference Passage #2 - 1st John 1: 5-9 [ESV] USE THIS LINK
… Only when we’re willing to admit our sin and seek His forgiveness are we able to be cleansed and made whole in Christ.

Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Julie Ackerman Link, in her ODB teaching, relates a story about the rehearsal practices of the famous St. Olaf College Choir. The Choir, at the small Lutheran college in Minnesota, is world renown for it’s singing of beautiful and intricate Christian choir music, the results of which can be heard in the above linked YouTube sample of their singing.

 However, thought the outcome of the work put in by the choir director and the choir is incredible music, sung for the glory of God, it was the choir’s rehearsal practices which ODB author, Link, highlighted in her ODB blog for today. Link reports that during rehearsals the St Olaf choir members are disciplined to raise their hand any time they feel they are not sure of their singing part or they feel they have made a mistake. In this way the Director can make sure that each individual choir member becomes confident to sing their own part and to contribute to the singing of the entire choir.

 That kind of vulnerability is what the Lord sought of His people with so much failure in the Old Testament and what Jesus came to each as a man to save mankind from his unwillingness to repent and be made whole by the Grace of God. It’s what He proclaimed to the Samaritan woman at the well (see John 4 linked above). The dear soul had to be willing to admit her sinfulness, repent, and allow Jesus to heal and save her. It’s what Jesus was trying to teach to the Sanhedrin Pharisee, Nicodemus, … that He, Jesus, had come to save mankind of their sins … IF … any were willing to repent and believe in Him as their LORD and Savior. But so often, we are not willing to do to hold up our hand, as the St. Olaf choir members do, and admit our faults or confusion. We tend to hid or coverup our sins or failures, don’t we?

 But only when were willing to do what God teaches in 1st John 1: 5-9, linked above, and confess our sins to be cleansed and renewed in Christ, will we be able to sing clear and God-honoring notes, contributing to the CHOIR, known as God’s Church, singing glorious and melodious music, TOGETHER, for God’s glory.

 So, let’s be sure we lift up clear and harmonious singing - from our lives - for God’s glory today.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … Help me to be cleansed by confession of my sins so that I can sing in chorus with others in your Church … sweet music to Your ears. 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.

June 30, 2015 … Jesus, Our Redeemer

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 181

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of Nicole C Mullen singing the poignant song My Redeemer Lives … declaring the reality of God’s plan to redeem mankind in His son, which was completed on the cross… and THEN ON TO THIS LINK  to hear Big Daddy Weave singing Redeemed … proclaiming my redemption in Christ … and because My Redeemer lives … so will I … forever !!


Highlight Passage Job 19: 25 [NIV] … 
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives and He will stand at last on the earth; … 
… And Job was right … and his friends were clueless
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Highlight Context - Job 19: 23-29 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… In a moment of insight in his plight, Job realizes and trusts in the redemption which can/will only come in our Lord.
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 31: 1-8 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Our Redeemer lives! And His will never leave us, nor forsake us.

Reference Passage #2 - Lamentations 3: 22-23 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… God’s mercies don’t dissipate … His mercies are new - EVERY MORNING in His faithfulness as our Redeemer.

Reference Passage #3 - 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 on Him the iniquity of us all. 
… God’s plan all along was to provide His son as our Redeemer

Reference Passage #4 - 1st Thessalonians 4: 13-18 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Knowing that Christ lives and will return for His bride gives us strength to face each day.

Reference Passage #5- Titus 2: 13-14 [NKJV] … 
13 … looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. 
 … He has redeemed us from our our lawless nature

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, used the Statue of Christ The Redeemer, overlooking the city of Rio De Janeiro, to illustrate how mankind should look up and focus on Christ as our Redeemer at all times … realizing and trusting that He lives and He will return to claim His bride to be with Him forever. Our Redeemer LIVES!!!

 And when you take in this day’s photo image, … we should be looking up to our Lord, and awaiting that time when He will come again to claim His Bride (yes, that’s you and me!!) and to take us to be with Him forever. As Big Daddy Weave sings, … I am … Redeemed; and as Nicole Mullen sings, My Redeemer Lives!!

And do I sense any here, beside myself, declaring … HALLELUJAH!!! ??

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I believe You are coming, My Savior… My Redeemer; … and as it says in Rev. 22, … “Come soon, Lord Jesus! “ Amen

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

Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015 … Rescuing the Reluctant

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 180

Devotional Songs: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of Phillips, Craig, and Dean, singing the poignant song He’ll Do Whatever It Takes … declaring the reality of God’s persistence and use of His Saints to help save struggling Christians… and THEN ON TO THIS LINK to hear Steven Curtis Chapman singing the message of God’s Strength being available to the Christian who is drowning in selfishness in his song - His Strength Is Perfect.


Highlight Passage Genesis 19: 16 [NIV] … 
16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 
… God’s persistent love and mercy and power shine forth in this story
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Highlight Context - Genesis 19: 12-25 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Even two angels had trouble getting Lot and his family out of a drowning Sodom & Gomorrah
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 31: 1-8 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… Moses in his last days, relaying God’s promise of God’s faithfulness to His covenant as His people were about to enter the Promised Land.

Reference Passage #2 - Lamentations 3: 22-23 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...  
… God’s mercies don’t dissipate just because things get lonely or tough.

Reference Passage #3 - Matthew 11: 28-30 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Jesus, Himself, promised to help us when the burdens seem too great

Reference Passage #4 - Galatians 6: 1-10 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Especially note/meditate on verses 1 and 9-10, where we Christians are exhorted strongly to persist in our attempts - with God’s help/strength - to rescue drowning people, especially fellow Christians

Reference Passage #5- 1st Peter 5: 7 [NKJV] … 
7 Casting all your cares on Him because He cares for you. 
… Could God’s promise of care be any clearer.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland, took his readers (me) to an in illustrative scenario which I’ve personally experienced as a life-guard years ago and now in ministry. And I’ve “stolen” the Author’s blog title for mine this morning - “Rescuing The Reluctant.”

And, in his illustration, McCasland writes: Many years ago during a water safety class, we were taught how to save a drowning person who is resisting rescue. “Approach the person from behind,” the instructor told us. “Place one arm across the person’s chest and flailing arms, and swim toward safety. If you approach from the front, the person may grab you and pull both of you down.” Panic and fear can paralyze the ability to think and act wisely. 

Then our ODB author switches to the story of God’s attempted rescue of Lot and his family (see Genesis 19 linked above) from their drowning situation in Sodom and Gomorrah, which God was about to destroy. God sent two angels to help Lot and family; but we know that they were reluctant to leave, Lot’s wife even becoming a pillar of salt in the process. And this story, as well as the other scriptures above, illustrate how God so desires to use His people, even His angels, to save and sanctify even the most reluctant of people who are drowning in their own selfish desires and struggling emotions.

 I see it in an ongoing way where men, whom I’m led to help with recurring, habitual, and/or addictive bondage to sexual sin quite often have caught themselves in a rip-tide of temptation, and are once again (because it seems to happen often with some) drowning in their own desires and lust. And in the ministry I’ve been called to lead, we, in our ministry, are quite often summoned to rescue this reluctant and drowning warrior. And taking the call and charge of Galatians 1: 1-10, we do just that. 

Perhaps you know of a drowning fellow Christian who could use your help to do what the devotional songs sing about or the photo image represents; and you could reach out to help this floundering soul. But BEWARE!! As with a lifeguard trying to save a reluctant and panicked drowning victim, a rescuer can be pulled down with the victim if the lifeguard doesn’t use careful rescue tactics. So, as we have to do in our ministry, we Christians must learn how to be an effective and discerning discipler; and get in there and pull the drowning victim to safety.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … Give me the strength and power to be a “rescuer” in Your Name and for Your glory 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, June 28, 2015

June 28, 2015 … Hands Lifted

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 179

Devotional Songs: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of Gary Valenciano, singing the poignant song Lift Up Your Hands … declaring the reality of God’s promises for His grace in the face of the sufferings of this world … and THEN ON TO THIS LINK to hear Clay Crosse singing the message of Psalm 134 (see below) in his song - When I lift My Hands.


Highlight Passage Psalm 134: 1b-2 [NIV] … 
1b  All you servants of the Lord, … Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord. 
… Written to encourage true servants of God, who so often feel lonely in their service. 
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Highlight Context - Psalm 134 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Written for Priests, Pastors, and Ministers who lead small groups or congregations 
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 31: 1-8 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… Moses in his last days, relaying God’s promise of God’s faithfulness to His covenant as His people were about to enter the Promised Land.

Reference Passage #2 - Lamentations 3: 22-23 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… God’s mercies don’t dissipate just because things get lonely or tough.

Reference Passage #3 - Matthew 11: 28-30 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… Jesus, Himself, promised to help us when the burdens seem too great

Reference Passage #4 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 9 [NKJV] … 
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
… In the face of challenges, remember God’s enabling grace is mine.

Reference Passage #5- 1st Peter 5: 7 [NKJV] … 
7 Casting all your cares on Him because He cares for you. 
… Could God’s promise of care be any clearer?

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David Roper, took his readers (me) to a Psalm of encouragement - Psalm 134 which was apparently written to encourage servants of God, who so often get down and discouraged, even lonely, in their day-by-day-by-day service of God, … especially when they are oppressed and in strife from the world or Satan.

 Roper writes, … “ I think of … servants of the Lord today — pastors and their families who serve in small churches in small places. They’re often discouraged, tempted to lose heart, doing their best, serving unnoticed and unrewarded. They wonder if anyone cares what they’re doing; if anyone ever thinks of them, prays for them, or considers them a part of their lives. … I would say to them — and to anyone who is feeling lonely or insignificant: … Though your place is small, it is a holy place. The one who made and moves heaven and earth is at work in and through you. “Lift up your hands” and praise Him. " 

Oh, … how I needed these words today. Perhaps you do too. Leading a ministry where battles of spiritual warfare are encountered daily, discouragement, especially when physical illness is being encountered as well, can creep in and Satan does all he can to wear us down, doesn’t he? … But if we can believe and do as encouraged in the songs and highlight scriptures shared above, we will be energized by our believe in and praise to the God, Who will never leave, nor forsake, us … the God who cares so deeply for us … the God who has promised to help us carry our burdens with His empowering grace, we will be encouraged, empowered, and uplifted.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I have been lifted up today by Your word, Your promises, and Your truth. And I lift my hands in praise to You, dear Lord. 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, June 27, 2015

June 27, 2015 … Someone to teach God’s truth

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 178

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of an anonymous praise team, leading in worship, singing the poignant song Blessed Assurance … declaring the reality of the confidence we have in the salvation given to us freely by God’s grace from our faith and confirmed by the truth of God’s word.


Highlight Passage Acts 8: 30-31 [NIV] … 
30 So Philip ran to him [the Ethiopian Eunuch], and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, [see Isaiah 53: 7-8] and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” … 31 And he [the Ethiopian] said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 
… Philip, a later early church leader, responds to God’s Spirit and takes the truth of Scripture to an officer of the Ethiopian Queen, who, through understanding the truth about the Messiah, is saved by faith and is baptized.
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Highlight Context - Acts 8: 26-40 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Philip teaches the Ethiopian about the truth of the The Messiah; and God saves this man by the power of His word and the gift of His Spirit.
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 53: 7-8 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… This was the passage read by the Ethiopian traveler, which Philip helped him understand the truth, which led to God giving this African the faith to be saved.

Reference Passage #2 - Matthew 28: 18-20 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… God’s GREAT COMMISSION, given, with God’s authority, to all Christians for our purpose on earth as Christians.

Reference Passage #3 - Romans 10: 9-13 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… The absolute “formula” for salvation is presented by Paul to Christians struggling to know the truth.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Dave Branon, took his readers (me) to the story Luke relates in Acts 8 [see link above], about the later Apostle, Philip, being led by God’s Spirit to an officer of the Ethiopian Queen, … a eunuch, who was traveling on a road in Samaria. And Philip notes that the man was reading from the Old Testament (see Isaiah 53: 7-8 above); and the Ethiopian asked Philip to help him interpret these words from God. Then Philip does what all Christians should be doing, as charged in the GREAT COMMISSION (see Matthew 28: 19-20). He shared God’s truth with the man and led him to Christ (as defined in Romans 10: 9-13). He taught this lost man the truth from God’s word, which led to the eunuch being saved and then to move on in Christ down life’s road.

 I totally identify with this story, because I was led to Christ from His word just as was the Ethiopian in Acts 8. And for me it was a retired Christian physician who helped me understand God’s word and be taught by the Holy Spirit through God’s truth, as was the eunuch. All Christians need to surrender to the teaching of the Holy Spirit from Gods’ Word which He authored … to be saved and then sanctified and then to serve, … all being led by God’s truth. I pray that all reading with me here are pursuing their discipleship in Christ and being helped along the road of life to understand and then to live out God’s truth, …just as Philip helped the Ethiopian eunuch on that road in Samaria.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … Thank You for leading me down Your road to eternity by man like my mentor and discipler, who taught me Your truth how to interpret life from Your word. Amen

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

Friday, June 26, 2015

June 26, 2015 … The Way Small Greatness of God !!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 177

Devotional Song/Video: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of Chris Tomlin, singing the poignant song How Great Is Our God … declaring the reality of the greatness of our God, especially seeing the wonders of our universe … the beginning and the end … and THEN ON TO THIS LINK to hear a 40 min. presentation by Louis Giglio, as introduced by Chris Tomlin, on the greatness of God in the vastness of the universe as well as the smallness of one protein in our body, “laminin.” [If you haven’t seen/heard this You Tube piece, you definitely should take the time to do so.]

One body protein - Laminin - viewed through an electron microscope in the shape of a cross

Highlight Passage 2nd Corinthians 12: 2 [NIV] … 
2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 
… Paul, referring to himself, … given a vision of heaven, from which God allowed Satan later to give him a thorn in the flesh to humble himself and be able to receive the intimacy of God’s grace to give Paul the power to deal with his weakness from the thorn.
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Highlight Context - 2nd Corinthians 12: 1-1 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Paul was given a vision of the vastness and majesty of the third heaven …
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Reference Passage #1 - Psalms 139: 13-14 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… God knit you and me together in our mother’s womb; and we truly are “fearfully and wonderfully made!!”

Reference Passage #2 - Romans 1: 20-21, 8: 37-39 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… Seeing the vastness of the universe should give us all we need to have faith in God; but often humans are blinded to the glory of God by their own pride and sin nature.

Reference Passage #3 - Hebrews 11: 1, 6 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK
... Our faith in God is so often built upon things we cannot see, like “laminin,” rather than in being able to see the vastness of the universe, which should be enough for our belief.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Julie Ackerman Link, wrote about things in our universe which are so wonderful, yet so small, we cannot even see God at work in their majesty. And this reminded me of a You Tube piece (linked above) where Pastor Louis Giglio, on a “How Great Is Our God” tour with Chris Tomlin, spoke of one of the most amazing, microscopic, elements in the body, so small that it takes an electron microscope to see; but it so powerful to seal our faith in a God who created not only the vastness of the universe, but created one tiny protein, “laminin,” which holds the human body together. And that protein is seen in its creative glory in the shape of a cross (see attached photo). And it reinforces the truth of Psalm 139: 13-14 that we (you and me) have been “fearfully and wonderfully made” by a great God, Who also created all we seen in the vastness of the universe as we look up at the stars in the heavens.

 I won’t write much more here; but I do hope any reading with me, if you have not seen the Giglio piece on You Tube, will take the time to use the link above and see/hear his tour presentation, perhaps after hearing Chris Tomlin sing his glorious song about “How Great Is Our God!” Sometimes, it takes the small things in this world to reveal the vastness of the God we love, … the One Who created us all, … with laminin … holding us together, so that we can serve Him in faith.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … You put me together; now let me go forward in faith to serve You for all the rest of my life. Amen

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

Thursday, June 25, 2015

June 25, 2015 … Worthy Warriors ?!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 176

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of Clay Crosse and two of his friends, Bob Carlisle and Bebe Winans, singing the poignant song I Will Follow Christ … declaring the commitment of what should be every Christian to follow Christ and serve Him as our Lord daily.


Highlight Passage 1st Corinthians 15: 36 [NIV] … 
36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 
… Our lives are meaningless unless we die to self and live for Christ
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Highlight Context - 1st Corinthians 15: 30-38 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK 
… Have we died to self in order to live lives worthy of Christ
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Reference Passage #1 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] … 
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. … “ 
… Jesus’ call of worthiness as His disciple.

Reference Passage #2 - Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Our lives as “living sacrifices,” doing all we can to avoid the ways of the world.

Reference Passage #3 - Ephesians 4: 1 [NKJV] … 
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, … 
… Living lives of worthiness to our calling as Christians.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Mart DeHaan, having studied the early church historian, Theodoret, reports the story of an early church martyr, a 4th century monk named Telemachus, who spoke out against the worldly bloodshed involved in the gladiator games in the Roman Forum in those times; and this monk was stoned to death because of his outspoken resistance. Learning of the incident, however, the Roman Emperor, Honorius, put an end to the games with their senseless bloodshed. Telemachus had died to self; but his worthiness for Christ made a difference in his world.

 The story was used by author DeHaan to raise the question as to whether we, as Christians, are willing to stand up for Christ in a world that’s becoming more and more hostile to Christian values and beliefs. He essentially asks his readers (me) whether we’re willing to do do what my friend, Clay Crosse, and two of his friends sing about in today’s linked devotional song. … Are we truly followers of Christ as He called us to be in Luke 9: 23? Are we willing to be “living sacrifices” in His Name as Paul wrote about in Romans 12: 1-2 and Ephesians 4: 1?

 Some years ago, seeing that the world was becoming more and more “pornified,” … my wife and I were called to found and lead a ministry for Christians to be liberated from the bondage of the growing XXX world; and in our 15+ years of following Christ in this ministry, we have seen many men walk free from the addictive magnetism of pornography; and we have helped many marriages be resealed in Christ because husbands were willing to follow Christ rather than succumb to flesh-driven lusts. But sometimes it seems like we’re fighting a losing battle and we’re being overwhelmed Satan’s XXX weaponry.

 What is the battle in life that you’re willing to stand against in a worthy manner for Christ, as did the monk Telemachus? Today, my wife and I will continue to help Christians who’ve fallen on the XXX battlefields of life; and we pray that we can be worthy of our calling as Christians.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … Help us to die to self and follow You … EVERYDAY AND IN EVERY WAY … into battle. 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, June 24, 2015

June 24, 2015 … Stepping Out Of The Boat

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 175

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of Steven Curtis Chapman singing his own personal and poignant song His Strength Is Perfect … declaring the reality that we ALWAYS need God’s strength when ours is gone.


Highlight Passage Matthew 14: 27-28 [NIV] … USE THIS LINK ... 
… Jesus is always there for us; but not all will step out of the boat in faith
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Highlight Context - Matthew 14: 22-33 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Jesus called … but only one responded in faith
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 31: 6 [NKJV] … 
6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” 
… Wherever we go to follow Christ He will be there for us.

Reference Passage #2 - Lamentations 3: 22-21 [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. 
… And even in the midst of today’s storms, we can find His strength to lift us up.

Reference Passage #3 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] … 
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,[a] and follow Me. … “ 
… And following Him can lead us to get out of the boat and come to Him.

Reference Passage #4 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 9-10 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...  
… God’s grace will always give me His strength to lift me when I am drowning.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Marion Stroud, used the popularly preached story of Jesus coming to His Disciples, walking on the water in the storm, as his highlight story to make the point that we all have times when we need to step out of the boat of life in faith and rely on Jesus to lift us up.

And I really don’t think I need to write much more here to make it any clearer that we are going to have times in life when we must step out of our boat and seek Jesus in faith. But there will also be times when our faith may not be as strong as it needs to be to “walk on the water” in the storm; and we need to know - and BELIEVE - that Jesus will ALWAYS be there to provide us with His strength when we are weak of faith.

 So, today I step out of the boat … because I’m definitely in one of those times of weakness and in a storm. … HELP ME, LORD!!

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … Help me to step out in faith and come 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.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 23, 2015 … Beauty In The Weeds

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 174

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of Laura Story singing her own personal and poignant song Blessings … declaring the truth that we often miss the beauty and blessings in life for seeing only the pain and anguish … And THEN TO THIS LINK to hear Big Daddy Weave sing Redeemed … declaring that God has redeemed us from the rubble of our own sinfulness.


Highlight Passage Genesis 3: 15 [NIV] … 
15 “ … And I [GOD] will put enmity between you [SATAN] and the woman, … and between your seed and her Seed; … He shall bruise your head, and you a shall bruise His heel.” 
… Sometimes we only can see the curse and we forget “the seed” of our redemption set in motion by that curse.
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Highlight Context - Genesis 3: 14-19 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… In the story of “The Fall” of Adam and Eve, we so often lose sight that the agony of the curse was the beginning of the story of redemption of mankind.
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Reference Passage #1 - Lamentations 3: 22-21 [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. 
… And even in the midst of today’s weeds, we can find beauty because of God’s faithful mercies.

Reference Passage #2 - John 3: 16-17 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK …
... God sends the cure for the curse.

Reference Passage #3 - Romans 10: 9-13 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK …
... And God provides the cure for the curse.

Reference Passage #4 - Galatians 3: 16 [NKJV] … 
16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” Who is Christ. 
 … And there was only one SEED, in Whom we find our beautiful redemption

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson, used a very personal story about his son seeing beauty in the midst of a field of weeds. … Tim writes, My son Liam loves to pick dandelions for his mother. To date, she hasn’t wearied of receiving them. One man’s weed is a little boy’s flower. … But Liam’s youthful eyes remind me of something else. There is beauty even in weeds of this life. The anguish of childbirth holds hope for us all. Death is ultimately defeated. The “Seed” God spoke of in Genesis 3:15 [see above] would wage war with the serpent’s offspring. That Seed is Jesus Himself, who rescued us from the curse of death (see Galatians 3:16). 

 So, as Laura Story sings (linked above), do we seed the beauty in the weeds of our lives? Do we see the redemption story, as Big Daddy Weave sings, in our relationship with Christ … yes, even in the midst of the day-by-day trials of this life? Oh, how I pray this day that we can pick some dandelions and give their beauty to someone else today.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … Help me see Your beauty in the weeds today; and help me to make them up into a bouquet of beauty for someone else. 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, June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015 … Transitions

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 173

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of Steven Curtis Chapman singing his own poignant song His Strength Is Perfect … declaring the truth that God will give us HIS strength when our weaknesses are obvious … And THEN TO THIS LINK  to hear Don Moen sing God Will Make A Way … TRUTH = When there seems to be no way - GOD!! 

Photo:  Kyle Woods in wheelchair - his former coach, Grant Teaff, speaking 

Highlight Passage Joshua 1: 7-8 [NIV] … USE THIS LINK …
... God’s encouragement and prescription for success in the transitions of life
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Highlight Context - Joshua 1: 1-11 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… In the transitions of life - we must trust God as did Joshua when it was God’s timing to take His people into the Promised Land
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 31: 6-8 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Moses encourages Joshua and God’s people as they stand ready to enter the Promised Land

Reference Passage #2 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … 
5 Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding, 6 In ALL your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. 
… The question is - DO WE TRUST HIM?

Reference Passage #3 - Lamentations 3: 22-21 [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. 
… And in the tough transitions of life, do we rely on this truth?

Reference Passage #4 - Romans 8: 31 [NKJV] … 
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 
 … Really?!! Do we believe it and live it?

Reference Passage #5 - Philippians 4: 13 [NKJV] … 
13 I can do all things, through Christ, Who gives me the strength. 
… No matter what we’re dealing with in our own weakness, God’s strength is ours.

Reference Passage #6 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 9 [NKJV] … 
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
… God’s grace is ALWAYS sufficient - no matter what!!

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David C McCasland, in teaching on dealing with the transitions of life, writes: Whether it’s the loss of a job, the loss of a marriage, a serious illness, or a financial setback, every major change brings challenges. The former athlete told the soldiers that the key to success when you are transitioning into a new way of living is to reach out and get help. 

It was the story of such an athlete, going through a serious transition in his life which changed my life forever. In the attached photo, you see a picture of young Kyle Woods, taken in a wheelchair with quadriplegia, after he had been a promising football player for Baylor University back in the 80s.  I heard Kyle’s story, being told by Kyle Woods’ Coach, Grant Teaff [also in the attached photo], when I was in a deep transition in my life, realizing that I need spiritual strength.

 The coach was relating Kyle Woods’ testimony on a cassette tape I heard … of Christ giving the young boy strength when he became paralyzed from the chest down from a football accident in a practice one day at Baylor. And Woods attributed the strength he had found to deal with this transition in his life, physically, to his spiritual strength from following Christ.

 That story changed my life, from a selfish “agnostic,” … seeking spiritual strength, … to a Christian seeking God’s way in life. I don’t know where you are in life or what transition you may be dealing with now. But if you take in today’s devotional songs, linked above, as well as the truths you read above from God’s word, … AND … if you believe those truths, … you, like Joshua, when he had to deal with the transition in his life after Moses died (see Joshua 1: 1-11), will be able to handle any challenge God has thrown your way. Yes, my fellow Christian, … if you know and believe and meditate on those Bible passages above, there is NO TRANSITION which will get you down. And as Don Moen sings above … “God will make a way!!!”

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … You uplift me … AGAIN … King Jesus, with Your encouraging, engaging, empowering word. Amen

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

Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 21, 2015 … Fatherly Love

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 172

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of Joe Cocker singing My Father’s Son … declaring the reality that so often we become our father’s son … so, let me become just like my Heavenly Father, … my Abba Father …


Highlight Passage Psalm 103: 13 [NIV] … 
13 As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him. 
… Knowing that the Hebrew word “pities,” which is “racham,” means to show love or to have compassion for ; and that’s our Abba Father in Heaven.
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Highlight Context - Psalm 103: 7-13 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Our loving Heavenly Father
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Reference Passage #1 - Matthew 6: 1-15 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Don’t be like the Pharisees … be like Your Abba Father in heaven, praying to “our Father” in heaven

Reference Passage #2 - Romans 8: 15 [NKJV] … 
15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
 … Our Heavenly Father is our Papa God

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, being Father’s Day, related a poignant story of a tire father doing all he could to show love for his boy. Crowder writes about a scene unfolding with a delayed flight in an airport.  About the scene Crowder writes:  The parents were obviously weary from dragging their two energetic preschoolers through airports and airplanes, and now their final flight was delayed. As I watched the two boys running around the crowded gate area, I wondered how Mom and Dad were going to keep the little guys settled down for our half-hour flight into Grand Rapids. When we finally boarded, I noticed that the father and one of the sons were in the seats behind me. Then I heard the weary father say to his son, “Why don’t you let me read one of your storybooks to you.” And during the entire flight, this loving father softly and patiently read to his son, keeping him calm and focused.  

And that’s a human scene which illustrates the loving, caring, “Abba Father,” we have in Heaven, … the “Papa God,” Who sent His Son to die that we might have eternal life (you surely know John 3: 16). And He’s the “papa God” to Whom we pray when we’re in need (see Matthew 6 linked above). 

In my life I had a DAD like the one Bill Crowder writes about above. And today I’m missing him. … But I still have my Abba Father, to whom I can go when I need to be with Him [see Romans 8: 15]. And that’s why I come here everyday to let my Papa God read to me from His word. It calms my soul and keeps me focused on Him.

 You know it’s true, as Joe Cocker sings in today’s linked song, … that we tend to become our father’s son; and so, I pray that I become just like my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … read to me, Abba, from Your word. It settles my heart for the day ahead. 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, June 20, 2015

June 20, 2015 … Lost and Found

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 171

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing on my favorites He’ll Do Whatever It Takes … declaring the love of our Good Shepherd, Who will do whatever it takes to bring His lost sheep back into His flock for eternity.


Highlight Passage Luke 15: 4 [NIV] … 
4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 
… Jesus to the Pharisees, … a parable of the lost sheep.
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Highlight Context - Luke 15: 1-7 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Heaven rejoices when even one of His lost sheep are found
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Reference Passage #1 - Psalms 100: 3 [NKJV] … 
3 Know that the Lord, … He is God! It is He Who has made us, and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 
… We must be thankful that He is our Shepherd.

Reference Passage #2 - Isaiah 53:6 [NKJV] … 
6 All we, like sheep, have gone astray. We have turned, every one, to his own way. And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 
… God’s plan to become our Good shepherd

Reference Passage #3 - John 3: 16-17 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… God sent His Son to be our loving, Good Shepherd, … seeking and saving the lost sheep.

Reference Passage #4 - John 10: 1-30 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… Jesus is the Good Shepherd; and those in His flock know His voice and follow Him.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Anne Cetas, related a personal story about a lost sheep which reminded me of my own “lost sheep” story.

 When I was a boy of about 10 or 11, I had a morning paper route. One morning, as I delivered my papers, I heard the loud bleating of a sheep, which had apparently fallen off a truck and was lost and wandering on my paper route. So, I cornered the sheep near a fence behind one of the houses on my route; and I was determined to keep the sheep corralled and safe from ongoing cars and then to return it to its owner. However, my father, who had been a cattle rancher in his youth, had little love for sheep; and when he came to find me [his own lost lamb] when I didn’t get home on time, he told me to let the “&@##%&” sheep go [his language was clear!]; …LOUDLY telling me that I was a fool to have tried to save that “&$##%&$” lost lamb.

 That incident confused me because I had always seen my father as a compassionate, loving man. But obviously he didn’t have the same love of sheep as did our Good Shepherd, Who came into this world to seek and to save His loving, but wayward, flock of sheep [see Isaiah 53: 6, John 3 and 10]. So, if you take in the attached photo, this morning’s song, and the attendant Scriptures, we, who’ve been pursued and purchased by the Love of God’s Shepherd, His Son, King Jesus.

 Can I sense a “HALLELUJAH,” … joining those in heaven who rejoiced where our Good Shepherd came after us, as His wayward lambs, and saved us from Satan, the world, and from our selves.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … You are my Good Shepherd, Who came after me and saved me from my self. 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, June 19, 2015

June 19, 2015 … Tassel Reminders

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 170

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK     … Please take the time to take in a video of the group Hillsong, leading an audience in worship and singing Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus … which is the best tool we have to take our eyes off of self and onto the Savior; and the most powerful way to do that is to focus on His word.


Highlight Passage Numbers 15: 39-40 [NIV] … 
39 And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, 40 and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God. 
… God, thru Moses, gives His people a tangible reminder of the importance of their obedience to God’s Commandments.
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Highlight Context -Numbers 15: 37-41 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… God gives a reminder to His people of God’s Law
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Reference Passage #1 - Psalms 119: 9, 11 [NKJV] … 
22 How can a young man cleanse his way? … By taking heed according to Your word. … 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You. 
… God’s word - deeply imbedded in our hearts becomes our reminder, our “tzitzit”… reinforced by God’s Spirit, of our ability to overcome sin by being obedient to The Word

Reference Passage #2 - Isaiah 26: 3 [NKJV] … 
21 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You , because he trusts in You. 
 … Our strongest reminder of God’s truth is keeping your mind focused on Him in our relationship with Christ. And in doing so we received His peace.

Reference Passage #3 - 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.” 
… Knowing and keeping God’s commandment is the seal to our love for Him

Reference Passage #4 - Philippians 4: 6-7 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK… No need to be anxious when we focus, with thanksgiving, on God in prayer.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, tells of how God gave His people, through Moses, a tangible tool and reminder to help them focus on the need to be faithful to God’s Law and to keep His commandments. Perhaps you’ve seen, in being around orthodox Jewish people, the “tzitzit” tassels extending from the shirts of males [see attached photo] or hanging from the wrist of Hebrew women.

 These tassels were established by God through Moses in Numbers 15: 37-41, linked above, to be a reminder tool of the importance of His chosen people staying true to God’s Law, through His word. But really all these tassels can do is remind a sinful people that it’s impossible for them (US) to perfectly keep God’s Law. We need more in our hearts to be able to walk free of our own sinfulness. 

And today’s ODB author, Schuldt, writes … God’s memory device for the ancient Israelites has a parallel for us today. We can look at Christ who consistently kept the whole law in our place and obeyed His heavenly Father (see John 14: 21). Having received His finished work on our behalf [i.e., the cross], we now “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Rom. 13:14). Keeping our eyes on God’s Son helps us to honor our heavenly Father [i.e., with righteous living].

 And I maintain that God has also given us His best tool to avoid the flesh and to humbly focus on The Lord, as God’s word exhorts in Psalm 119: 9, 11 and Isaiah 26:3. And that reminder tool is to imbed God’s word deeply in our heart (through study, memory, and meditation), which in turn allows God’s Spirit to provide us with His enabling/empowering grace to overcome our sin nature.

 And that’s why you find this humble believer, coming here EVERY DAY to take in more and more of God’s primary “reminder” of His willingness - and ability - to help me overcome myself and to focus on Christ through His word. And what I get out of this is … PEACE.

 Do you want some of that peace? Well, let God’s word be your “tzitzit” reminder of Him everyday.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … You word is my focus on You; and it leads me to Your peace. Amen

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

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June 18, 2015 … Failure - The Path To Glory

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 169

Devotional Songs: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of Don Moen singing God Will Make A Way … declaring the reality of God’s willingness to take our failures and use them to show us His way … and THEN ON TO THIS LINK with Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing He’ll Do Whatever It Takes, showing God’s desire to use His grace to reshape us into His own image … no matter how many times we’ve failed Him in the past.


Highlight Passage John 18: 26-27 [NIV] … 
26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” 27 Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed. 
… But this “failure” was not Peter’s undoing … see John 21 and beyond after Acts 2
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Highlight Context -John 18: 15-18, 25-27 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Peter’s failure … leads ultimately to the Apostle’s great success for Christ
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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. 
… Just because WE fail, … doesn’t mean God will …

Reference Passage #2 - John 21: 15-19 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Jesus restores Peter fully after the Apostles failure

Reference Passage #3 - Acts 2: 14-47 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… Look at how Peter, “the failure,” after his denial of Christ, preaches with power at Pentecost

Reference Passage #4 - 1st Corinthians 10: 13 [NKJV] … 
13 No temptation [or “test, trial, trouble, or tribulation”] 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. 
 … No matter what test or trial we go through, even in seeming failure, … God’s will make a way [listen to the Don Moen song, linked above]

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Cindy Hess Kasper, writes of God’s willingness and grace to take our failures and turn them into His launching pad for our future service in His Name and for His glory.

 Kasper’s ODB entry today made me think of several of the great American Baseball stars of the past, like Reggie Jackson, pictured in the attached photo. … Jackson was inducted into the USA Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993; and he was known as “Mr. October. ” His nickname came because. on several occasions during his career, even after mediocre years from April-September, Jackson would come alive in October, usually during the World Series in October, to have spectacular games, hitting home runs to win big games in the Series. In fact, looking at Jackson’s career, he struck out more than any other batter in MLB history; but his often spectacular home runs - especially late in the season - caused baseball writers - and certainly fans - to forget all his strike outs; and he was selected for the Hall of Fame.

Think of biblical “failures,” who ended up in God’s “hall of faith.” (see Hebrews, Chapter 11). There we so many who failed in life, like the Apostles Peter and Paul; but God turned their “strike outs” into “home runs,” leading them to live spectacularly successful lives for Christ, even though they had failed miserably in God’s eyes in their past.

 Perhaps, like me, someone reading here has been a “failure” in the past; but, I’m here to tell you that we can all turn our “strike outs” into “HOME RUNS” for Christ … and it can begin today!!

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I pray that I, and any here with me today, remember that Your mercies are new every morning; and they when there seems to be no way, You can … and will … make a 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.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

June 17, 2015 … Let My Words Be Few

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 168

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of Phillips, Craig, and Dean, singing their song Let My Words Be Few … declaring that our words should show our love for Jesus.


Highlight Passage Proverbs 12: 18 [NIV] … 
18 The tongue of the wise brings healing. 
… Oh, … to have a healing rather than a hurtful tongue
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Highlight Context - Proverbs 10: 18-21, 12: 17-19 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Oh, … how our words can be hurtful or healing … which are they today?
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Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 16: 24-28 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Our hope for eternity … our faith … His grace

Reference Passage #2 - Ephesians 4: 29 [NKJV] … 
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 
… If we can’t say something is God’s grace to others … SHUT UP!!!

Reference Passage #3 - 1st Thessalonians 5: 9-11 [NKJV] … 
9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. … 11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 
 … Our words should edify and heal … in the Name of Jesus.

Reference Passage #4 - James 3: 6-8 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… The tongue … small muscle, powerful effect …

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Dave Branon, writes of the power of one very small muscle in the body: … What is the strongest muscle in the human body? Some say it’s the tongue, but it’s hard to determine which muscle is the most powerful because muscles don’t work alone. … But we do know that the tongue is strong. For a small muscle, it can do a lot of damage. 

James, the brother of Jesus, the pragmatist leader of the early church, wrote few, but very powerful, words in James, Chapter 3, exhorting his fellow Christians to be very careful in the use of that very small muscle in the body, the tongue; … a muscle which can be very healing or very hurtful. The Apostle Paul, to two church groups in Asia-Minor in the 1st century, exhorted Christians (see Eph. 4: 29 and 1st Thess. 5:11) - and that’s you and me, too. - to do what Phillips, Craig, and Dean sing in their linked song above … “Let [our] words be few.”

 J.G. Pilkington, in the 19th century, was credited to have written that “we have two eyes and one tongue, … that we may see twice as much as we say.” But he went on to lament, “… but unhappily men generally act as if the reverse were true.” And that’s what Solomon was hitting at when we wrote so many of his Proverbs to exhort mankind to let this powerful little organ which so much power in the body be an agent of healing rather than one of hurtfulness.

 Let’s take in the the attached photo, the song linked above, and today’s highlight and reference passages, meditating deeply on how we - each of us - uses our tongue; and then let’s dedicate ourselves - AT LEAST TODAY - to make our tongues healing agents of love, speaking from Christ-led hearts and verbally sharing the love and grace of God with others.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I pray that I, and any here with me today, speak Your love, and peace, and healing words to all whom we connect today. Amen

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

June 16, 2015 … Anchored to the Rock

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 167

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of George Beverly Shey, singing Our Anchor Holds & Rock of Ages … declaring the hope/faith we have anchored to the Rock of Ages.


Highlight Passage Psalm 121: 1-2 [NKJV] … 
19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, … 
… Our anchor of faith, solidly held to the “Rock of Ages”
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Highlight Context - Hebrews 6: 13-20 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… God’s “Rock of Ages” to Whom we affix our anchor of faith and hope
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Reference Passage #1 - John 3: 16 [NKJV] … 
… You know it … and hopefully can recite the hope we have in God’s love … Christ becoming the “Rock of love” … for any and all who would receive Him by affixing their anchor of faith to the Rock

Reference Passage #2 - Ephesians 2: 8-9 [NKJV] … 
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 
 … Our anchor of faith is affixed to His grace as our hope for eternity.

Reference Passage #3 - Titus 3: 4-7 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK 
... Our hope for eternity … our faith … His grace

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Marvin Williams, begins his entry with an illustrative story, writing … After Estella Pyfrom retired from teaching, she bought a bus, decked it out with computers and desks, and now drives the “Brilliant Bus” through Palm Beach County, Florida, providing a place for at-risk children to do their homework and learn technology. Estella is providing stability and hope to children who might be tempted to throw away their dream for a better tomorrow. 

Ms Pyfrom is doing all she can to get the hopes of young people hooked in with the stability they can find with enlightened education. And in the first century the Author of of the Book of Hebrews was trying to get persecuted and scattered believers - mostly Jewish - to affix their hope of faith in the “Rock of Ages,” … the Son of God, … our Lord, Jesus, … The Christ. And that is the same message The Gospel of God’s Kingdom, which rings forth today, where Jesus invites any/all who would come to Him to set their anchor of faith in Him, the “ROCK OF AGES’!”

 My hope is simple today for any reading here. I pray - and will below - that you have your anchor of faith solidly set in the Rock of Ages.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I pray that any here with me today have their anchor of faith solidly set in You, King Jesus, the Rock of Ages. 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, June 15, 2015

June 15, 2015 … Looking Upward

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 166

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of tBebo Norman, singing I Will Lift My eyes … with a prayer of how we, as Christians, must lift our eyes above our circumstances to the our Maker … the Maker of all the mountains we can’t climb - but the mountains HE created.


Highlight Passage Psalm 121: 1-2 [NKJV] … 
I will lift up my eyes to the hills - from whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the Lord Who made heaven and earth. 
… From childhood to glory, we keep learning God’s way from His word.
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Highlight Context - Psalm 121 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… One of David’s songs of ascent … which he wrote for God’s people to sing as they looked to come to Jerusalem for several of the feasts of deliverance which the Jews celebrated the City of David
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Reference Passage #1 - Psalms 89: 1-2 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Looking up to sing of God’s mercies forever

Reference Passage #2 - Psalms 122 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… The Joy of going up to Jerusalem to worship God in peace

Reference Passage #3 - Psalms 123: 1 [NKJV] … 
Unto You I lift up my eyes, … O You who dwell in the heavens. 
… David looking up to the Lord as he sings of His praises.

Reference Passage #4 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Look up! … Trust Him … Follow Him!

Reference Passage #5 - 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!! 
… Jeremiah sings of God’s mercies - new every morning in His faithfulness.

  My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David C McCasland, used a personal story to illustrate his ODB teaching. He wrote - In a park near our home there’s a trail I enjoy walking on. Along one section there’s a panoramic view of red sandstone rocks in the Garden of the Gods with the majestic 14,115-foot Pikes Peak behind them [see attached photo]. From time to time, though, I find myself walking that section occupied with some problem and looking down at the wide, smooth trail. If no one is around, I may stop and say aloud, “David, look up!” 

I’ve been to the place where today’s ODB author refers and have seen the scenario depicted in the attached photo; and it is magnificent to view the majesty of Pike’s Peak through the red canyons which God has hewn from the earth in the park known as the “Garden of the Gods.” And when you know the story behind the Psalms 120-134 [David’s Songs of Ascent], … several quoted as references today, … you can see why David wrote these songs to help God’s people look upward to God as they headed to Jerusalem for several of the annual worship festivals. The people in that day would sing these songs as they traveled to the City of David for Temple worship, looking ever upward to that great city, which symbolized the presence of God for them, … no matter what their life’s circumstances happened to be as they sang these great songs of deliverance.

 I don’t know where you are in life right now; but I know - for all of us - it’s time to LOOK UP and see our majestic God and to sing of His greatness and mercy, which is new every morning [see Lam. 3: 22-23]. And do I sense, a hearty “HALLELUJAH” as we listen to Bebo Norman singing the linked song above. Please take the time to use this link and LOOK UP to our God today … no matter where we may be walking, or what we might be experiencing.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I look up 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.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

June 14, 2015 … Learning God’s Ways

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 165

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of the group, 4Him, singing The Basics of Life … charge God’s people to get back to the basics of life taught in God’s word.


Highlight Passage 2nd Timothy 3: 14-15 [NKJV] … 
14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 
 … From childhood to glory, we keep learning God’s way from His word.
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Highlight Context - 2nd Timothy 3: 10-17 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Learning and knowing God’s will and His ways through His word
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 6: 4-7 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK 
... Teaching the basics of life from God’s word should be a life-long task

Reference Passage #2 - Psalm 119: 9-11 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK … The only way to make our way pure in life is to hide His word in our hearts.

Reference Passage #3 - Joshua 1: 8 [NKJV] … 
8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 
… Joshua learned from God, through Moses, that staying in God’s word is the only way to Spirit-led success.

Reference Passage #4 - Proverbs 22: 6 [NKJV] … 
6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 
… Start early and stay with God’s word.

Reference Passage #5 - Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK …
... We become living sacrifices for God by renewing our minds in Him; and that is done primarily by getting God’s word deeply into our hearts.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Dennis Fisher, to illustrate his teaching point today in ODB, wrote about a little girl who had become a voracious learner, constantly reading, even as a very young child. And Fisher points out that this desire to learn came from her being exposed to parents/family who would read to her and with her at a very young age, instilling in the child a love of learning through reading.

 And I personally relish Fisher’s story, because we have a 10 year old granddaughter who always has a book with her or her Kindle digital reader; and she has read through the entire Bible at least three times in her young life. And she and her sister have likely become voracious learners about life by being taught by a close family, especially parents, who want their young ones to learn and abide in God’s truth from a very young age. And meditating on the Scriptures above, which ODB and my memory provided for my devotional today, I was reminded that our entire lives should be saturated by/in God’s word.

 So, I hope all who read with me today are getting into God’s word - DAILY, … yes, even day-and-night, … memorizing God’s truth, … so as to honor God by the “… renewing of our minds,” as Paul wrote in Romans 12: 2. Because, if we learn God’s will and His ways from His word, we will much more likely live it out for our entire lives. And that’s why you find me getting into the Bible every day and blogging on how it touches my life.

 So, I’ll see you here tomorrow.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … Your word is my heart!! 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, June 13, 2015

June 13, 2015 … Dealing With Discouragement

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 164

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of Steven Curtis Chapman singing his very personal song of pain His Strength Is Perfect … lamenting the loss of a child in the context of seeking strength from our Lord. — It seems like I post this song a lot on my blogs. Perhaps I need to hear it over and over again. Maybe you do too!!


Highlight Passage John 21: 18-19 [NKJV] … 
18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” 
 … Jesus lifts the countenance of Peter, the inner Disciple upon whom the primary leadership of The Church would follow as Christ’s Bride grew in those early days of the Church.
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Highlight Context - John, Chapter 21NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… God begins the restoration process with His disciples, especially Peter, who had been so despondent over denying Christ thrice just before He went to the cross.
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Reference Passage #1 - Ephesians 2:8-10; 3:20-21; 4:1-3; 5:15-17 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK
… God’s grace will strengthen all who follow Him to be His workmanship until He comes again.

Reference Passage #2 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 9-10 [NKJV] … 
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 
… As was Paul when he wrote this journal entry, there are times when we’re going to be down, and even in pain; but when we’re at our weakest, that’s what God’s Spirit can lift us up.

Reference Passage #3 - Philippians 4: 11-13 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Our contentment will come only when we recognize and receive His strength to cover our weakness.

Reference Passage #34- 2nd Peter 1: 2-4 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… And Peter exhorts the Church (i.e., you and me) with the truth that - IN CHRIST - we have all we need to partake of God’s divine nature and to become an ultimate overcomer, as was Jesus.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Julie Ackerman Link, wrote about how easy it is to get down or discouraged when messing around in social media, like Facebook, these days. She wrote: Social media is useful for many things, but contentment is not one of them. At least not for me. Even when my goals are good, I can become discouraged by continual reminders that others are accomplishing them first or with greater results. I am prone to this kind of discouragement, so I frequently remind myself that God has not short-changed me. He has already given me everything I need to accomplish the work He wants me to do. 

 Personally, I think that one has to guard against being lured into using Facebook and other social media too extensively, especially if one is trying to find more contentment or joy from life. These new forms of social “connectors” can be used constructively; but they tend to drive people to emotional discouragement and even covetousness. How many times does one feel jealous or inadequate when reading online of the exploits of other Facebook “FRIENDS?” And it seems to me that Satan has found another tool to pervert a form or communication and use it to drive mankind inward and to become more discouraged.

 The Apostle Peter, and later Paul, both personally experienced the anecdote for such inwardness, selfishness, and spiritual weakness; and they wrote it in the reference passages linked/copied above. But the main scenario which illustrated how Christ set them up for future Church leadership, came in His return to His remaining inner Disciples just after the resurrection. Don’t you just love this interaction, which the Apostle John wrote about in the last Chapter of His gospel journals (see John, Chapter 21), and especially in Verses 15-19 where Jesus restores a very despondent and discouraged Peter.

 Remember Peter had denied Christ three times. Note, as Jesus comes, very personally and intimately to Peter, how The Lord gives Peter three opportunities to express his love for His Lord; and three times, Jesus charges (actually “commissions”) Peter to “… go and feed” His sheep.

 We must remember that Jesus desires that we all “GO” and be His witness and agents of transformation (see Acts 1: 8 and Matthew 28: 19-20). And He provides the power and the “where-with-all” to do just that [see 2nd Peter 1: 2-4]. So, let’s crawl out of our selfish holes today, being guarded as we use tools like social media; and let’s take up Jesus’ charge to follow Him and be His witnesses. He will provide THE power; and all we need to provide is the commitment and the decision to “GO!”

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I go in Your Name today and prayerfully 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.