Friday, July 31, 2015

July 31, 2015 … Lost and Now Found

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 212

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please once again take the time to take in a video of Chris Tomlin singing the modernized version of the classic John Newton hymn Amazing Grace proclaiming the reality of Christ’s wondrous saving grace and why He became incarnate to save mankind.


Highlight Passage Luke 19: 10 [NKJV] … 
10 ... The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. 
… Clear statement as to Jesus’ mission as our Good Shepherd
============
Highlight Context - Luke 19: 1-10 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Jesus saved Zacchaeus and his family because of their faith
============

Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 53: 6 [NKJV] … 
6 All we, like sheep, have turned astray. We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 
… We are His lost sheep; and He will call us to Himself.

Reference Passage #2 - Luke 4: 18-19 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… Jesus restates His Messianic purpose in God’s house of worship [see also the Prophet Isaiah’s Messianic prophesy in Isaiah 61: 1-2].

Reference Passage #3 - Luke 15: 1-7 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Jesus illustrates His purpose eternally with the parable of the lost sheep.

Reference Passage #4 - John 10: 11-16 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… Jesus clarifies His role as our Good Shepherd.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, used a story from a movie from the life of William Wilberforce to illustrate the main point of his devotional on this date. 

Crowder wrote: The film Amazing Grace was set in the late 1700s. It tells the story of William Wilberforce, a politician who was driven by his faith in Christ to commit his money and energy to abolishing the slave trade in England. In one scene, Wilberforce’s butler finds him praying. The butler asks, “You found God, Sir?” Wilberforce responds, “I think He found me.” 

And that’s the way of Christ, my friend, isn’t it? We are his lost sheep; and He, Jesus, is our Good Shepherd. Over 700 years before Jesus came to save His lost sheep, the Prophet Isaiah prophesied the coming of the Messiah to save us (see Isaiah 53: 6 and 61: 1-2). And then when Jesus came, He spoke clearly of His mission, repeating Isaiah’s words in Luke 4: 18-19; and then as the Messiah, Jesus, The Christ, set about doing exactly what He came to do, … become God’s sacrificial Lamb to save mankind from our sin.

 As the old hymn, written first by John Newton and then renewed by Chris Tomlin, who sings the more modern version (linked above], … the grace of our Lord is truly amazing to save all who come to Him in repentance and to receive His “Amazing Grace.”

My Prayer Today: Oh, my Lord, … You came to save me as Your lost lamb; and as You’ve called me, I follow You, dear Good Shepherd. … 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, July 30, 2015

July 30, 2015 … Grey for His Glory

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 211

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of lyrics sung by Steven Curtis Chapman in his song, His Strength Is Perfect, declaring that God will provide His strength to the weakened and faithful.


Highlight Passage Joshua 14: 11 [NKJV] … 
10 And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. 11 As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. 
… Caleb speaks out gratefully to Moses of God’s providence and His purpose for Caleb and his family.
============
Highlight Context - Joshua 14: 6-12 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Caleb, at 85, inherits Hebron and the hill country
============

Reference Passage #1 - Numbers 14: 20-24 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK
… God honors Caleb’s faithfulness by prophesying that he will enter the Promised Land, even after 40 years of purging the disloyal and disobedient peoples.

Reference Passage #2 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … 
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will keep your paths straight. 
… Caleb trusted God from the beginning and his faith was held all the years of his life as God’s people wandered in the wilderness grumbling in disobedience.

Reference Passage #3 - 2nd Corinthians 4: 16, 12: 9 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle Paul declares that God’s grace will sustain His loyal servants, as it alway has with those who do not lose heart, … as did Caleb, … no matter our age or physical condition.

Reference Passage #4 - Philippians 3: 13-14 [NKJV] … 
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 
… Paul’s exhortation for the faithful to keep our eyes on the prize, no matter how old we might be.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, to illustrate here OBD teaching, wrote about a Dutch artist, Yoni Lefevre, who had a project called, “Grey Power,” where she had young children in the Netherlands depict their living grandparents in crayon drawings; and the kids pictured their Omas and Opas as vibrant and active in their older years. You can see one of the photos attached where one little 11 YO girl depicted her “Opa,” doing wild and crazy and fun things for his family.

 And most certainly these observations mesh with the experience of my wife, who is Dutch. When her parents were living, they were both riding bicycles well into their eighties. And my mother-in-law would walk about 5 miles per day to go to the market to pick up fresh foods to prepare for the evening meals. And until recently, when fast-food restaurants and sedentary lifestyles have invaded Holland, you seldom ever saw an obese or out-of-shape elderly Hollander.

 And Schuldt, in her ODB entry, makes the point of “grey power” by using Caleb as her biblical model of vibrant health and power into his older years; because God had prophesied that Caleb and his family would see the Promised Land after Caleb and Moses had faithfully spied the land and reported that it was God’s for the taking (see Numbers 14: 2-24). And so, over 40 years later, Caleb, at age 85, was gratefully allowed to enter the God’s Promised Land, and to inherit the mountain country as his chosen portion from God (see the highlight passages from Joshua 14: 6-12).

 And we need to remember that as long as we trust in God, as did Caleb, He will lead us into our promised land … in glory; and HE will provide us with His strength and grace to do so (see Prov. 3: 5-6 and 2nd Cor. 4:16 and 12: 9 copied above).

 So, as it says in Phil. 3: 13-14, let’s keep our eyes on the prize and move forward in Christ today, trusting that our Lord will lead us and strengthen us.

My Prayer Today: Oh, my Lord, … I’m 72 today; but so grateful that You’ve given me the faculties and strength to move forward 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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29, 2015 … G.I. -> G.O.

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 210

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of Godly images and thoughts while Phillips, Craig, and Dean sing Let My Words Be Few, where we try to pour Godly images into our hearts/minds so that what we say will reflect God.


Highlight Passage Matthew 15: 18-19 [NKJV] … 
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 
… Jesus taught that what comes out of the mouth is a reflection of the heart.
============
Highlight Context - Matthew 15: 7-21 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… So many things are being taught in the name of Christ these days which are nearly garbage; and Jesus taught about this in His day as well,
============

Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 23: 7 [NKJV] … 
7 As a man thinks in his heart, so is he … 
… Hence we must think Godly thoughts.

Reference Passage #2 - Philippians 4: 8 [NKJV] … 
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 
… If we choose to put Godly thoughts into our mind, … Godly words and choices will result … it is the GI-GO process with “GOD in -> GOD out” being the result.

Reference Passage #3 - James 3: 16-18 [NKJV] … 
16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. 
… We sow righteousness from our minds and mouths if we participate in righteousness.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Julie Ackerman Link, to illustrate here OBD teaching, used a personal incident where she came across a favorite beach one day strewn with garbage, to which she spoke harshly to her husband of those who would pollute such a pristine beach with their trash. Then she realized that so often she was also guilty of trashing others, as she was doing on that beach that day, with her harsh, judgmental attitude and words.

 And as I read the author’s teaching, I realized that all us us can be guilty of the old cybernetic principle … ”Garbage In —> Garbage Out” … which usually refers to how we program computers. If we get garbage from a computer program, it is because the software has been programmed in a messy, inaccurate way. And that is a biblical truth about humanity as well. Solomon taught this in Proverbs 23: 7 (in the NKJV), which states clearly, … “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he (or she).” 

in other words, … what we pour into our mind is reflected in who we become, i.e., … what we say, and the choices we make. And Jesus was reflecting that truth when he spoke out - as He so often did - about the religious leaders of His time; because they had polluted what they represented and taught by their own self-righteous but self-centered actions and teaching. In today’s highlight passage from Matthew 15, linked/copied above, Jesus was teaching the GI - GO principle that what we put into our minds (and if it is garbage) is reflected in who we are and what we say/do (which could be garbage); and you can see that in the photo illustration attached.

 And both the Apostle Paul and Jesus’ brother, James, taught that principle. Paul exhorted Christians (see Phil. 4: 8) to be careful to think only Godly thoughts; because he know that if we did that, Godly words and actions would result. And that is the GI --> GO principle at its best. … “God IN … will become … God OUT” … GI —> GO.  But as James warned (see James 3 above), if we take in unGodly thoughts (i.e., Garbage), we can expect unGodly words and actions to result (i.e., Garbage).

So, what does this say about how we must make our thought choices today?  
Remember … G.I. —> G.O.

My Prayer Today: Oh, my Lord, … I’m here today to take Your word into my mind that I might reflect Your truth in all that I think, say, and do. … 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, July 28, 2015

July 28, 2015 … Correct Grip

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 209

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please once again take the time to take in a video of the group 4Him singing Back To The Basics, proclaiming the need for all of God’s people to get back to obedience in God’s basics.


Highlight Passage Judges 2: 19 [NKJV] … 
19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way. 
… Unfaithfulness will always lead to God’s disfavor
============
Highlight Context - Judges 2: 11-22 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Disobedience, selfishness, and stubbornness leads to God’s judgment and wrath
============

Reference Passage #1 - 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. 
… We are a selfish people; but God’s mercy abounds in Christ.

Reference Passage #2 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … 
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding.   6 In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will keep your paths straight. 
… Oh, how much pain we’d experience if we could just abide in this truth.

Reference Passage #3 - 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. 
… We don’t deserve God’s mercy; but it is there for us nonetheless.

  Reference Passage #4 - 1st John 1: 9 [NKJV] … 
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. 
… Yes, … it’s getting back to God’s basics when we confess our sins and receive His grace to cleanse us.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Cindy Hess Kasper, related a personal story to illustrate her teaching lesson. Kasper writes: As I learned to write my letters, my first-grade teacher insisted that I hold my pencil in a specific way. As she watched me, I held it the way she wanted me to. But when she turned away, I obstinately reverted the pencil to the way I found more comfortable. … I thought I was the secret winner in that battle of the wills, and I still hold my pencil in my own peculiar way. Decades later, however, I realize that my wise teacher knew that my stubborn habit would grow into a bad writing practice that would result in my hand tiring more quickly. 

When I was a younger kid, I was one of those compliant types who did what the teacher said; so, I still hold my pencil the way she taught me [see attached photo]. However, when I was 12 my compliance began to break down as I was introduced to something I knew was wrong, … pornography. After being exposed to these tempting, lustful images, even though I knew it was wrong, I still pursued it quietly, relentlessly, and selfishly, … in disobedience to what I knew was right.

 We humans are that way, … aren’t we? Our sin nature often leads us to make unGodly choices, … even when we know those choices are disobedient to God’s will and His ways. That’s what happened over and over and over again in the book of Judges as God’s word described the disobedience of His chosen people, causing the Lord to send Judges to help the people find their way back to the paths of righteousness [see the highlight passage from Judges, Chapter 2 linked/copied above].

 God’s word, in the passages above, is pretty clear that we humans are a rebellious, recalcitrant lot, … aren’t we? When we see a sign boldly declaring, “Don’t walk on the grass!!” … what is generally the first impulse of many, if not most, of us? Watch what a six year old boy, who can read, will do most of the time when he sees that sign. You bet, … he’ll walk on the grass; won’t he?

 It’s only when we, as God’s children, can learn - and then choose - to do life God’s way, in His word, will we be able to avoid what God’s people experienced over and over in the book of Judges; … and that is God’s wrath. And if we can’t do what the group 4Him sings above (i.e., get back to God’s basics), we, as God’s people today, … i.e., Christians … will also experience God’s wrath. 

Personally, I’d rather get back to the basics … HIS basics!! … and not walk on the grass … or even try to help others hold their pencil in the right way.

My Prayer Today: Oh, my Lord, … Help me to choose to hold my pencil the way YOU want me to hold it. … 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, July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015 … Regular Checkups

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 208

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please once again take the time to take in a video of Queen Latifah singing a song from the movie “A Joyful Noise.” The song is Fix Me Jesus proclaiming the need of all of us to have God examine our souls and restore us into His image.


Highlight Passage Psalm 139: 23-24 [NKJV] … 
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxieties; 24 and see if there is any wicked way in me, … and lead me in THE WAY everlasting. 
… Being open to God's "check-up" allows Him to "fix us" for His glory.
============
Highlight Context - Psalm 139: 17-24 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… God’s desire that we be open to His life-changing, life-healing grace
============

Reference Passage #1 - 2nd Corinthians 13: 5 [NKJV] … 
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 
 … God, thru Paul, exhorts us all to be examined in the faith to see if we’re qualified for His grace.

Reference Passage #2 - 1st John 1: 9 [NKJV] … 
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. 
… Really everyday - yea, every moment - should be a check-up to have God cleanse us from our sins.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Joe Stowell, used the analogy of getting an annual physical to illustrate his point of needing to be open to have God examine our hearts - regularly - to see if we need some treatment from God’s Spirit in His ministry to have us restored into the image of Christ.

 Stowell writes: It’s that time of year when I go to the doctor for my annual physical. Even though I feel well and I’m not experiencing any health problems, I know that routine checkups are important because they can uncover hidden problems that if left undiscovered can grow to be serious health issues. I know that giving permission to my doctor to find and remedy the hidden problems can lead to long-term health. 

And God’s word also encourages us to be open to have regular checkups of our spiritual well being as well. In Psalm 139, a portion of which is linked above and is the highlight scripture passage for today’s ODB entry. In it, King David, the author of the psalm, is clearly being open to a checkup by God’s Spirt, seeking to have his heart/mind examined by God and to be “fixed” … as Queen Latifah sings in today’s devotional song link.

 Really it’s a good idea to have regular - if not daily - pauses to have God’s Spirit do a check-up of our spiritual health. That’s what the Apostle Paul wrote when he was exhorting the church in Corinth to do regular self-exams to see if their faith was healthy enough to be used by God for His glory [see 2nd Cor. 13: 5]. And when God convicts us of sin, the Apostle John wrote of how it behooves us all to confess that sin and be cleansed of that spiritual ill health [see 1st John 1: 9].

 Personally, it is part of my quiet-time discipline every day, here as I use the ODB devotional and my journaling, to seek out my Jehovah Jireh, the Healer God, to do an exam of my spirit and to allow my Lord to do what Queen Latifah sings … “Fix me!!” …

 How about you, … do you need a check-up today?

My Prayer Today: Oh, my Lord, … I yield to the words of David in today’s highlight passage and Queen Latifah’s soulful cry … If there is anything in me, Lord, that is not like You, Lord, … fix me, Jesus, fix me! … Amen

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

Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 26, 2015 … Obedience Yields Blessing

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 207

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please once again take the time to take in a video of the group Hillsong singing I Surrender proclaiming our need to surrender all to God and to yield all that we have and all that we are to His glory.


Highlight Passage 2nd Chronicles 17: 5-6 [NKJV] … 
5 Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah gave presents to Jehoshaphat, and he had riches and honor in abundance. 6 And his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord; moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah. 
 … Obedience to God’s ways provides contentment and God’s favor.
============
Highlight Context - 2nd Chronicles 17: 1-11 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Jehoshaphat ruled God’s people with obedience and honor and was rewarded with great wisdom and wealth.
============

Reference Passage #1 - 2nd Chronicles 20: 32 [NKJV] … 
32 And he [Jehoshaphat] walked in the way of his father Asa, and did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the Lord. 
… As King Jehoshaphat was obedient to his father’s ways, honoring God in all he did.

Reference Passage #2 - Ecclesiastes 2: 11 [NKJV] … 
11 Then I looked on all the works of my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. 
… Solomon had not lived in obedience to his own - God given - directives in the book of Proverbs; and see what it got him.

Reference Passages #3-5 - Luke 12: 16-21, 16: 19-31. 18: 25 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… The dangers and warnings from God’s word on yielding the lure of the flesh in the love of money.

Reference Passage #6 - Philippians 4: 11-13 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… The key to real contentment is obedience and surrender

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, used a story of a wealthy man who came to the revelation of how to live as a wealthy Christian.

 Darmani writes: A successful Christian businessman shared his story with us at church. He was candid about his struggles with faith and abundant wealth. He declared, “Wealth scares me!” … He quoted Jesus’ statement, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:25). He cited Luke 16:19-31 about the rich man and Lazarus and how in this story it was the rich man who went to hell. The parable of the “rich fool” (Luke 12:16-21) disturbed him.  

 All of the Scriptures from Luke’s gospel account are linked above for any reader here today. And they all do warn as to the dangers of letting “the love of money” become one’s ruler, rather than living in obedience to God’s ways and His word, as Jehoshaphat learned and applied when he became King of God’s people. And you can read about how this king honored God by implementing all his father, Asa, had taught him; and Jehoshaphat’s obedience to God opened up God’s treasure chest of grace and blessing for the young king and God’s people [see highlight passages above].

 The Apostle Paul also wrote his testimony of discovering how to be contented as a Christian. To the Philippians (see Phil. 4: 11-13) he told all that the secret to Godly contentment was in our surrender to God’s ways … not matter whether we have much or little. So, avoiding all that Solomon discovered and wrote about in his account of foolishness in Ecclesiastes [see passage above], we must avoid living for self and surrender all we are and all we have to living for God.

 I’m dealing with my own conviction in this lesson today. You must deal with yours.

My Prayer Today: Oh, my Lord, … Give me Your contentment, which can only come in my surrender 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.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

July 25, 2015 … Following God’s GPS

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 206

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please once again take the time to take in a video of Clay Crosse and his friends singing the poignant song I Will Follow Christ proclaiming our desire as Christians to let our Lord guide us through life as we follow Him.


Highlight Passage Psalm 37: 23 & 31 [NKJV] … 
23 The Steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delights in his way . … 31 The law of his God is in his heart; … none of his steps shall slide. 
 … As long as we follow His commands, our steps will be sure and steady.
============
Highlight Context - Psalm 37: 23-31 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… We keep ourselves in step with the Lord by following Him.
============

Reference Passage #1 - Psalm 119: 9, 11 [NKJV] … 
9 How can a young man keep his way pure? … Buy taking heed according to Your word. 
 … 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You. 
… God’s prescription to staying on His path.

Reference Passage #2 - Psalm 119: 105 [NKJV] … 
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 
… God’s word becomes our GPS to a straight path in life.

Reference Passage #3 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … 
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  6 In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. 
… Our paths remain straight as long as they follow our Lord.

Reference Passage #4 - Isaiah 41: 10 [NKJV] … 
5 Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed because I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you; … I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. 
… He is ALWAYS the best way to go.

Reference Passage #5 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Memorized and living it, RIGHT?!!

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland, wrote about the life of an older friend. McCasland writes: A small pamphlet I received from a friend was titled “An Attempt to Share the Story of 86 Years of Relationship with the Lord.” In it, Al Ackenheil noted key people and events in his journey of faith over nearly nine decades. What seemed to be ordinary choices at the time—memorizing Bible verses, meeting for prayer with others, telling his neighbors about Jesus—became turning points that changed the direction of his life. It was fascinating to read how God’s hand guided and encouraged Al. 

Dear Christian friend, I’m sure you’d agree that the walk in life as a Christian is no walk in the park. It’s more like continual warfare; and it’s easy to walk into a minefield if we don’t follow THE ONE Who knows where all the mines are located. And that, of course, means following Christ. And to do that, what is our best GPS? … It’s God’s word, isn’t it? … Because, if we’re to do what Christ ordered of His disciples (see Luke 9: 23), we must get His word deeply into our hearts (see Psalm 119: 11) and then follow it as a lamp unto our path (see Psalm 119: 105).

 So, my prayer for us today is that we have God’s word deeply implanted in our hearts/minds and that we’re following it, letting God’s GPS guide us away from the evil and dangerous minefields of life.

My Prayer Today: Oh, my Lord, … I pray this for all who read here with me today. Guide our steps away from the minefields Satan and his world would set up for us in this life. Help us to let Your word guide us 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.

Friday, July 24, 2015

July 24, 2015 … Stand up … Speak Up!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 205

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please once again take the time to take in a video of Daniel O’Donnell singing the poignant song You Raise Me Up declaring the strength we get from God to become so much more than we think we can be in life, … becoming able to stand for truth in the face of those who would mock God.


Highlight Passage Luke 22: 54 [NKJV] … 
54 Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance. 
… They saw Him arrested, led away for trial, and mocked … and they said nothing in His defense.
============
Highlight Context - Luke 22: 54-65 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… We know that Jesus’ remaining inner 11 Disciples bolted and ran and Peter denied Jesus thrice when the Lord was arrested in the Garden.
============

Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 31: 8 [NKJV] … 
8  Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. 
… So, what are we doing when we see the voiceless and helpless being persecuted as with all of the unborn who are led to the slaughter or those being bullied on the internet.

Reference Passage #2 - Matthew 26: 47-56 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Note in verse 56, all of His remaining inner Disciples forsook Him and fled.

Reference Passage #3 - Mark 14: 43-50 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… Mark documented the lack of support from Jesus’ Disciples in verse 50.

Reference Passage #4 - Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] … 
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 
 … We should all have this one memorized and internalized to live it out daily, … standing up and being heard, especially as we see the world becoming more vocally anti-Christ daily.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Randy Kilgore, writes of the modern trend of cyber-bullying which is growing in our internet-driven culture where social media becomes a driving force in the world. Kilgore writes: When I hear stories about young people who have been bullied, I notice there are always at least two levels of hurt. The first and most obvious comes from the mean-spirited nature of those actually doing the bullying. … [And] … It hurts the one being bullied because they’re stunned that no one will help. [… AND …] That often makes bullies more brazen, leading them to intensify their meanness. 

Jesus was certainly no stranger to the most savage bullying when He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and led to the Jewish leaders for trial. But did His inner Disciples, the ones who had walked with their Master for almost three years, stand up and make their voices counted during Christ’s passion. No (see the passages in Matthew, Mark, and Luke documented above), they bolted and ran; and Peter even denied His Savior thrice.

 Where are we, followers of Christ, today when the voiceless and helpless myriads of babies are being slaughtered in the womb? Are we standing up for the many, many young people who are being bullied online in this social-media driven world? I ask all who are reading with me today, … are we doing all we can to stand up and be heard in this world where our judges are ignoring the Constitution and ignoring our Legislatures to make unGodly laws?

 When, as Proverbs 31: 8 declares, are we going to open our mouths for the speechless or the helpless? … Let me pray for mercy and strength to help us to stand up and be heard in our world today.

My Prayer Today: Oh, my Lord, … help those of us who are call by Your Name to stand up and be heard - for YOU - when the bullies of this world try to mock You and decry Your truths. … 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, July 23, 2015

July 23, 2015 … Man-made? Really?!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 204

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please once again take the time to take in a video of a friend of mine, Clay Crosse and two o this friends Bebe Winans and Bob Carlisle singing their poignant song I Will Follow Christ declaring what should be our battle cry these days in avoiding all temptation to follow the wonders of the world.


Highlight Passage Isaiah 46: 5 [NKJV] … 
5 “To whom will you liken ME, and make ME equal, and compare ME, that we should be alike? …”
… There is none to follow but our God
============
Highlight Context - Isaiah 46: 1-10 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… God speaks through the Prophet to His people, telling them not to let anything of this world lead them away from His promises and His power.
============

Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 40: 25-26 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… Our God, our creator is the only One to follow.

Reference Passage #2- Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] … 
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 
… Especially note verse 2

  Reference Passage #3 - Colossians 3: 1-2 [NKJV] … 
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 
… Those IN CHRIST must follow Christ and not the world.

  My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Mart Dehaan, writes of a modern, so-called “miracle” substance, graphene, the characteristics of which can be so persuasive to turn mankind’s eyes toward himself and away from God.

 Dehaan writes: CNN calls a derivative of graphite [see attached photo] a “miracle material” that could revolutionize our future. Only one atom thick, graphene is being hailed as a truly two-dimensional material in a 3-D world. One hundred times stronger than steel, it is harder than diamond, conducts electricity 1,000 times better than copper, and is more flexible than rubber.  

… WOW!!!

 And the ODB entry today is right that such so-called “man-made” discoveries have a tendency, if not a growing trend, to take our eyes off of the reality of the real Creator by putting our attention on HIS creation. Today mankind is moving quickly to focus on so-called MAN-made miracles and away from the ONE - and the only ONE - Who has created all for His glory.

 That was true in the Prophet Isaiah’s day and the Apostle Paul’s day as well (see the highlight and reference Scriptures above); but it seems to be a trend which is accelerating in our times. Today the world tries to highlight education, science, and man’s way, to solve all the problems of this world, trying to take the world’s eyes off of the One and only Creator and the One we must follow (again, see Romans 12: 2 and Colossians 3: 2 copied above) if we are to deal with the challenges of our world.

 Please go back and hear my friend Clay Crosse and two of his friends, singing powerfully as to what we must do … and that is to take our eyes off of this world and to follow Christ. That was Jesus’ demand of His followers (see Luke 9: 23, which I hope you have memorized by now); and it should be our charge today as His disciples … to deny ourselves and to follow our Lord!! 

My Prayer Today: Oh, my Lord, … I follow You. Help me to take my eyes off of worldly idols and influences. … 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, July 22, 2015

July 22, 2015 … Collaboration With God

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 203

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please once again take the time to take in a video of the group Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing their poignant song He’ll Do Whatever It Takes describing the length God is willing to share His grace with anyone who comes to Him with a contrite heart, confessing their sin.


Highlight Passage Psalm 32: 5 [NKJV] … 
5 I acknowledge my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. 
… When we’re open and willing to confess, God’s infinity mercy and love are ours.
============
Highlight Context - Psalm 32 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… One of two of David’s confessional song, along with Psalm 51, which show God’s everlasting mercy and the Lord’s willingness to reward confession and collaboration with His love. 
============

Reference Passage #1 - Psalm 51 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Written earlier than Psalm 32 (above), but shows the depth of David’s contrition and willingness to be open to all about his sin.

Reference Passage #2- Lamentations 3: 22-23 [NKJV] … 
22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new avery morning, great is Your faithfulness. 
… God is ALWAYS willing to collaborate with the contrite Christian, who comes to Him openly willing to confess his/her sin.

Reference Passage #3 - 1st John 1: 9 [NKJV] … 
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
 … This truth shows the open willingness of God to collaborate with our humility and contrition when we’re willing to confess to our Lord.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson, writes of the collaboration of a young couple who were dealing with the outflow of the husband’s sexual sin. He writes, … [Jen] began to wonder if God wanted her to write about her husband’s pornography addiction and how God was working in his life and their marriage … she thought that it might publicly disrespect him. So she prayed, “What if we wrote it together?” and she asked her husband Craig. He agreed.

Oh how I identify with this poignant story; … because at one point in my marriage, I had to confess my infidelity and obsession with pornography to my wife; and my breech of trust could have destroyed our marriage. But apparently like the couple described by today’s ODB author, my wife and I were able to open our brokenness to God after I was willing to surrender my sin to Him; and our collaboration with God led to the healing of our marriage and the co-founding of a ministry to help other married couples find healing from God (see www.battleplanministries.org ).

 When any of God’s children come openly, in humility, to God to confess our sins, God is always faithful to forgive us and to collaborate with us in restoration and renewal of our relationship with Him [see Lamentations 3: 22-23 and 1st John 1: 9]. That, of course was the story behind Psalms 51 and 32 and King David’s contrition and confession after trying to hide his sin for over a year after the infamous debacle with Bathsheba and Uriah. But when David came forth with his contrition and confession, God extended His forgiveness, just as our Lord will for any of us who humbly come to Him seeking His mercy.

 As Tim Gustafson writes in today’s ODB (use the link below to read his blog), we can, as did David, find restoration and renewal of relationship with our Lord when we’re willing/able to come to him and confess with a right heart. Perhaps that’s what someone needs, reading here today. If so, go to God, … He is ALWAYS willing to extend His mercy to any who need it [hear that sung in today’s song link above].

My Prayer Today: Oh, my Lord, … thank You for your healing mercies, which are new every morning. … 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, July 21, 2015

July 21, 2015 … Being Close

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 202

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please once again take the time to take in a video of the group Casting Crowns singing the poignant song Broken Together touchingly lamenting the reality of many relationships and marriages … that only when we come together, even in our brokenness, can we experience the healing God has for us in His grace.


Highlight Passage Psalms 34: 17-18 [NKJV] … 
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of their troubles. … 18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite heart. 
… David lament the closeness he felt from God in a time of brokenness.
============
Highlight Context - Psalms 34: 4-18 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… God is there to be our togetherness - even when we’re broken.
============

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.” 
… God’s promise to His people in their trek to the Promised Land.

Reference Passage #2 - Job 2: 11-13 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Job’s friends did the right thing in his brokenness … before they opened their mouths … sometimes it’s best just to be there for someone, saying nothing … just being close.

Reference Passage #3 - Matthew 11: 28-30 [NKJV] … 
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
 … No one will ever be closer to us in our brokenness than Jesus.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Keila Ochoa, writes with such wisdom, … Many times we don’t know how to respond when others are grieving, and words may do more harm than good. Serving others requires that we understand them and find out what they need. Often we can help by meeting practical needs. But one of the best ways to encourage those who are suffering is to be near—to sit beside them and listen. 

That’s what confronted Job’s friends when they came upon his brokenness and grieving (see Job 2: 11-13; and these three friends did exactly the right thing early in their time with Job; … that is, before they opened their mouths to give him advice. Too bad they didn’t just stay there with this broken believer, and refrained from trying to give Job their words. Just their closeness in his brokenness would have likely been enough.

 Today, so many marriages and relationships languish in brokenness; and the song offering above, from the group Casting Crowns, carries so much wisdom [see/hear the linked song above] … that we can do much to experience healing when we’re just willing to experience our brokenness TOGETHER.

 I pray that we all will take in the wisdom and offerings of God Himself in the Scriptures above, … the One Who will never leave us or forsake us - as He demonstrated with Israel and Job; … and above all, Jesus being the most perfect evidence that God is ALWAYS there for us … in all things and at all times … even when we’re in our most broken state. … So, if we’re feeling that brokenness today … go to Him ;… let Him be with you; … let Him heal you.

My Prayer Today: Oh, my Lord, … my healer, … my Friend, … just sit with me today; and then please take my burden and help me carry it as You have offered. … 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, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015 … Boots On The Ground

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 201

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please once again take the time to take in a video of am anonymous praise chorus singing the great 19th century hymn Onward Christians Soldiers declaring the truth that all Christians are the army of God in battle everyday for His Glory.


Highlight Passage 2nd Timothy 2: 2-3 [NKJV] … 
2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure[a] hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 
… Paul’s exhortation to Timothy (and you and me) is for us to be faithful soldiers in God’s army.
============
Highlight Context - 2nd Timothy 2: 1-10 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Strength for our service comes through our faithful obedience and God’s grace
============

Reference Passage #1 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] … 
13 And [Jesus] said to them all (His followers), … “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. … “ 
 … Faithful service to God requires faithful followership to our Commander-in-Chief, … Jesus!

Reference Passage #2 - Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] … 
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 
… Faithful service to God requires faithful surrender and “living sacrifice” to God’s will.

Reference Passage #3 - 1st Corinthians 10: 13 [NKJV] … 
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 
… “Temptation” is also translated “test, trial, trouble, or tribulation,” depending on the set of circumstances brought into our lives to allow us to stand strong in the faith.

Reference Passage #4 - Ephesians 6: 10-18 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Standing faithfully in battle, wearing God’s full armor

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Dennis Fisher, uses the exhortation of the Apostle Paul as he was mentoring his young protege, Timothy, telling him (and us) that Christian service requires a warfare mentality; and that our strength in spiritual warfare will only come when we are in surrender to God’s will and following His way (see the words of Jesus and all of the Pauline scriptures copied/linked above).

 If I were to ask, “Are we in a spiritual battle 24/7?” … I would hope that I would have complete consensus of agreement from those reading here. Because WE ARE IN A BATTLE, as Christians; and as soldiers in God’s army, we need to heed His word and be in surrender to His will, and following Him at all times into battle. And ONLY when we are in surrender to HIS will and following HIS way, as laid out in HIS word, will we have the strength to be victorious in battle.

 So, …. ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS today as the old hymn sings, as linked above.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … we battle onward, following You as our Commander in Chief, … forever. 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, July 19, 2015

July 19, 2015 … Eulogizing Our God

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 200

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please once again take the time to take in a video of Matt Redman, leading in worship and singing a great praise song Bless the Lord declaring a eulogy of God in worship. … And THEN ON TO THIS LINK to hear my friend Clay Crosse singing When I Lift My Hands in a genuine eulogy of praise to our God.


Highlight Passage Ephesians 1: 3 [NKJV] … 
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, … 
… To “bless” God is eulogize Him.
============
Highlight Context - Ephesians 1: 3-15 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Paul’s eulogy of the living God.
============

Reference Passage #1 - Judges 5: 2, 9 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… When God’s people, especially the leaders, come together to bless the Lord.

Reference Passage #2 - Psalm 103: 1-2 [NKJV] … 
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy Name! 
… 2 Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and forget not His benefits … 
… Never forgetting and always praising God’s holy Name.

Reference Passage #3 - Psalm 134 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Lifting our hands to eulogize our God.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Marvin Willians, writes about the concept of a “eulogy,” … We often use the word eulogy to refer to the words spoken at a funeral. But it can also refer to other situations where we give high praise to someone. In the opening lines of Ephesians, the apostle Paul eulogized the living God. When he said, “Blessed be the God and Father,” he used a word for “blessed” that means [in the Greek] “eulogy.” 

Then, also citing the highlight scripture for the day, Williams went on to show how the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, exhorted them to lift up a eulogy of praise to our God, often and with intensity of feeling, to demonstrating our true love and desire to reflect back the love God, the Father, had shown us in sending His Son to save us.

 So, as you join me to read this, I pray we all can lift our hands, as Clay Crosse sings [linked above] and eulogize our God with genuine praise from our hearts.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … may our heart join today to praise Your holy Name! Amen

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

Saturday, July 18, 2015

July 18, 2015 … My Way Or His Highway

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 199

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please once again take the time to once again take in a video of Frank Sinatra singing the anthem of fools My Way, declaring the course in life take by fools … to do life my way rather than God’s … and THEN TO THIS LINK to hear Hillsong singing the anthem of wisdom when life is difficult, singing I Surrender .


Highlight Passage 2nd Kings 5: 13 [NKJV] … 
13 And his [Naaman’s] servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 
… Good advice from Naaman’s servants - truth is sometimes hard to take because of pride. 
============
Highlight Context - 2nd Kings 5: 1-15 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Naaman’s pride almost causes him to fall to self rather than be cured by the Savior
============

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

Reference Passage #2 - Proverbs 3: 34 [NKJV] … 
34 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. 
… God’s advice when life is hard.

Reference Passage #3 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] … 
23 Then [Jesus] said to them all (His followers), … “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. ... "
… Tough to do when we want to do life our own way.

Reference Passage #4 - Proverbs 16: 18 [NKJV] … 
18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. 
… God’s advice when life is hard.

Reference Passage #5 - James 4: 6-7 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… Not MY WAY … but God’s

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Marion Stoud, uses an illustration of how children often handle conflict when playing a game. He writes: Two small boys were playing a complicated game with sticks and string. After a few minutes the older boy turned to his friend and said crossly, “You’re not doing it properly. This is my game, and we play it my way. You can’t play anymore!” The desire to have things our own way starts young! 

It’s true, isn’t it … that we so often get hung up on pride and let our desire to have life go our own way lead us over the precipice to a fall? All too often I’m afraid I would rather live by the song of Frank Sinatra, linked above, which turns out to be the anthem of fools, that is, doing life “My Way,” rather than doing our lives as Hillsong sings in the other song linked above, by surrendering all to God and letting Him lead the way for us in life (see all of the Proverbs above).

 The ODB author today uses the story of Naaman’s pride [see highlight passage] and how, when he finally yielded to God’s way rather than trying to do life his own way, God gave him healing. And all of this begs the question, … just Whom are we following [see Luke 9: 23]? Because if we want to do life as Frank Sinatra sings above, we’re going to head ourselves toward a fall. But if we’re willing to do life in surrender to our Savior, He will lead us in the way everlasting.

 Our choice, … isn’t it?

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … prayerfully always I choose You!! Amen

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

Friday, July 17, 2015

July 17, 2015 … The Tears of a Teen

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 198

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please once again take the time to once again take in a video of the Steve Green singing People Need The Lord, lovingly declaring the need we see everyday looking in the eyes of lost souls who pass our way daily.


Highlight Passage Romans 9: 1-2 [NKJV] … 
1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 
… Paul expressed his grief for his lost countrymen.
============
Highlight Context - Romans 9: 1-5 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle grieved deeply for his lost countrymen in Rome who were lost.
============

Reference Passage #1 - Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Are we becoming living sacrifices to honor His Name?

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Dave Branon, shares a personal story about a young teenage girl who grieved deeply when a lost man of the streets rejected her sharing Christ with him.

 Brandon writes: As I sat with four teenagers and a 20-something homeless man at a soup kitchen in Alaska, I was touched by the teens’ compassion for him. They listened as he talked about what he believed and then they gently presented the gospel to him—lovingly offering him hope in Jesus. Sadly, the man refused to seriously consider the gospel. … As we were leaving, one of the girls, Grace, expressed through her tears [see attached photo] how much she didn’t want the man to die without knowing Jesus. From the heart, she grieved for this young man who, at least at this point, was rejecting the love of the Savior. 

Then Branon related that grief to the emotion expressed by the Apostle Paul for his beloved countrymen in Rome as he wrote so deeply about his concerns for them in his letter to the Romans [see link to highlight passage in Romans 1]. Paul’s letter to the Romans in the New Testament was the only letter he wrote which was not written to loved ones he knew personally. However, the depth of the truth shared in that letter, expresses how deeply he loved and desired that those in Rome would come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.

 Please take the time to use the link above and hear Steve Green sing about the truth that everyday we likely pass many who are lost and need The Savior. And Branon asks today in his blog, Is there someone you need to talk to about Jesus today? And that is a question I must answer with deep conviction this morning?

 How about you?

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … whom will You have me pass today who needs Your love deeply? 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, July 16, 2015

July 16, 2015 … Honoring His Name

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 197

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please once again take the time to once again take in a video of the Maranatha Singers singing Bill and Gloria Gaither’s original song Jesus, … There’s Something About That Name, holding up the Name which is to be declared as our mission in life … living to honor His Name.


Highlight Passage Matthew 1: 21-23 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK ...
… His Name was also Immanuel
============
Highlight Context - Matthew 1: 18-25 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… God Named His Son to reflect His mission in life
============

Reference Passage #1 - Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK
… Are we becoming living sacrifices to honor His Name?

Reference Passage #2 - 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, ... 
… Are we living to honor His Name? …

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, got right to the main point of his teaching today when he charged his readers (me) to insure that our actions/choices reflect the very Name of the One Who came and was named of God to save all mankind.

 God had His Son named to reflect His mission on earth; and we read two of those names in today’s highlight passage … Immanuel … “God in us” … and Jesus, “Jehovah, Who Saves.” And Crowders question is framed in the reality of how we live our lives. And I’m challenged to answer as to whether I’m living up to the Name of my Lord and Savior … today and all days?

 I must stand before my God one day to answer that question; and prayerfully I will hear Him say, “… Well done, my faithful servant!!”

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … may I live today … and all days … to honor Your Name. Amen

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July 15, 2015 … Hearts Transformed

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 196

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please once again take the time to once again take in a video of the modern Gaither Vocal Band singing Bill Gaither’s original song He Touched Me, declaring the reality which happens to any believer who surrenders his/her heart to the cleansing power of transformation which comes from receiving the saving grace of Jesus Christ.


Highlight Passage Ezekiel 36: 26 [NKJV] … 
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 
… Oh, … come soon, Lord Jesus!
============
Highlight Context - Ezekiel 36: 22-31 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… New hearts for God’s people.
============

Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 4: 23 [NKJV] … 
23 Keep (i.e., guard) your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. 
… Oh how we must guard the condition of our heart.

Reference Passage #2 - Matthew 15: 1-19 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK
… It’s what’s in the heart which contaminates our life choices … note especially verses 18-19 where Jesus declares the status of the heart.

Reference Passage #3 - 1st John 1: 9 [NKJV] … 
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
… Our hearts cleansed by confession.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, helps his readers (me) to realize or remember the power of God’s grace to cleanse the heart of sinners and make them over into the newness of born-again believers with hearts transformed for the glory of God.

 So, Darmani asks his readers today, “What is the condition of your heart?” Has it been touched and made new as the Gather band sings (see linked song)? … If not, anyone reading here can have a transformed and newly cleansed heart by simply repenting of past sin and receiving the cleansing and saving grace of Jesus.

 Oh, how I pray that is the condition of your heart today.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I pray all who read here with me today have newly made-over hearts which sing of your saving grace. 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, July 14, 2015

July 14, 2015 … There’s Power In US!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 195

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please once again take the time to once again take in a video of Steve Green singing People Need The Lord, Showing us the need for each of us, individually, to live up to Jesus’ charge … but then to think of how much more kingdom power we can have in witnessing TOGETHER.


Highlight Passage Matthew 8: 37-38 [NKJV] … 
37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” 
… Our individual compassion has power; but the power of two of us is SO MUCH GREATER!! 
============
Highlight Context - Matthew 9: 35-38 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Yes, there are so many who need the Lord’s touch.
============

Reference Passage #1 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] … 
17 Then He said to His followers, … “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. … “ 
… We follow Him individually … but with even more power when we follow Him TOGETHER.

Reference Passage #2 - Acts 1: 8 [NKJV] … 
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 
… Each of us has HIS power to be HIS witness; but think of how much more power there is when WE witness.

Reference Passage #3 - Matthew 28: 18-20 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK … And He sent US - you and me - to go with HIS power - and make disciples!

Reference Passage #4 - Colossians 1: 24-29 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK
… God’s call to mutual discipleship, stewardship, and service …

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Philip Yancey, relates the power each of us has as witnesses to others of God’s love, His mercy, and His salvation; but when we join together as His body, the Church, our witnessing power is magnified exponentially.

 Yes, we must go out into the world, individually, as His followers and His witnesses; but when we do that in the power of two or three, or many more, we magnify the Jesus light in the world; and others can see Him so much easier in the power of His love through the Church [see John 13: 34-35].

 No more need be said to convict us of our task; because as Steve Green sings in the song linked above, “People Need the Lord!”

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … help me to join with others in Your Name to shine Your light more brightly together than we can individually. 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, July 13, 2015

July 13, 2015 … Go Ahead! Follow me!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 194

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please once again take the time to once again take in a video of Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing All Is Well, with the reality of our hope in Christ, looking forward in Him rather than into our selfish past.


Highlight Passage Philippians 4: 9 [NKJV] … 
9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. 
… Don’tcha just love the confidence of Paul’s leadership …
============
Highlight Context - Philippians 4: 1-9; 19 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… No need to worry … God will meet our needs … all the way to glory!!
============

Reference Passage #1 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] … 
17 Then He said to His followers,If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. 
… Let’s move forward, not dwelling in the rear-view mirror, … looking through the windshield at what lies ahead.

Reference Passage #2 - 1st Corinthians 11: 1-2 [NKJV] … 
1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. … 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 
… Paul knew where he was going, so he could exhort his friends to follow him.

Reference Passage #3 - Philippians 3: 13-14 [NKJV] … 
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 
 … Always moving onward … IN CHRIST!

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Randy Kilgore, relates the very personal story of the day his dear mentor and friend, Francis Allen, moved on to his real home in heaven. It was a touching story of a man dying with a glint in his eye, knowing exactly where he was going, having been on this trek to glory all his life.

 I can remember the day that my mentor released me from my weekly meeting with him, knowing that he was going to have to take care of his dear wife, who had unrelenting dementia. And I can remember him, as with Kilgore’s mentor, charging me to move onward in my life, following the precepts he had taught me, just as the Apostle Paul had charged his friends and fellow Christians in Philippi and Corinth in the highlight and reference passages above.

 Dr. Bob, my mentor, said much the same as Paul had said to his friends and the Christians who had followed Paul as their mentor. He had said to them that they could continue to live out what he, Paul, had taught them; and Dr. Bob charged me, in much the same way, to move onward, knowing that God was going to supply all my needs … as long as I followed His charge in Luke 9: 23. And that is why I’m still here every morning doing what my mentor taught me … to be in God’s word daily and to follow Him implicitly until that day which I will join Him in glory.

 So, if you have confidence in what I write here, being grounded in God’s word, … YOU CAN FOLLOW ME BECAUSE I FOLLOW CHRIST. 

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … Shine Your light brightly on our path so that we can’t help but follow 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.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

July 12, 2015 … Avoiding the Rear-view Mirror

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 193

Blogger Note:  Once again I'm posting this blog one day ahead of the date listed due to our travel schedule as we have ended our cruise to Alaska.  My devotionals have been sweet and deep during our travels, and very personal, as is this one.  I pray that others will be touched by God in some special way.  ... wrb 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to once again take in a video of Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing All Is Well, with the reality of our hope in Christ, looking forward in Him rather than into our selfish past.


Highlight Passage Psalm 77: 10-11 [NKJV] … 
10 And I said, “This is my anguish; but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most Hight; … surely I will remember Your wonders of old. 
… Our focus, with thanksgiving, on all the greatness of God, … past, present, and surely future!! 
============
Highlight Context - Psalm 77: 1-15 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… Too easy to focus on the past hurts … but we must look forward past the past.
============

Reference Passage #1 - Lamentations 3: 22-23 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ... 
… Focusing on God’s mercies … new every morning !!!

Reference Passage #2 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] … 
17 Then He said to His followers, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. 
… Let’s move forward, not dwelling in the rear-view mirror, … looking through the windshield at what lies ahead.

Reference Passage #3 - 2nd Corinthians 5: 17 [NKJV] … 
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 
… No reason to focus on the past … for we are NEW in Christ … everyday.

Reference Passage #4 - Galatians 2: 20 [NKJV] … 
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
… Let the past go … and focus on our future in Christ.

Reference Passage #4 - Philippians 3: 13-14 [NKJV] … 
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 
 … Let’s move on!!

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David C. McCasland, used a story of William Zinsser, and author, who returned to the sight of his boyhood home on the shore in Long Island … to discover that it was no longer there, but merely a hole in the ground. Disheartened he walked on the beach near his former seaside home and took in the beautiful sight of the ocean and God’s creation there; and Zinsser wrote of the experience: I was at ease and only slightly saddened. The view was intact and the unique configuration of land and sea I remembered so well that I could still dream of it. 

And that is being able, as McCasland’ writes in ODB today, to “see beyond the loss.” We all experience loss in our lives; and many Christians, such as I, do not morn the loss. We gladly look beyond our past because the past is not worthy our dwelling or holding on to it. That’s what a “cardboard testimony” celebrates (see 2nd Cor. 5: 17 and Gal. 2: 20).  A cardboard testimony is where one write a phrase expressing what life was like “BEFORE” Christ and then on the other side of the cardboard what it has become like “AFTER” Christ (see attached photo).

 Most Christians find it easier to do cardboard testimonies of looking beyond the past than others who must look beyond some hurtful loss, such as the death of a dear one, or a wonderful memory lost - as with William Zinssler’s story. But In Christ we are new; and as I’ve often said to those I mentor or disciple, “One simply must not try to drive onward in life looking only into the rear-view mirror.” 

And today, I pray that we’ll all look to where God is leading us, not where He’s had us in the past, remember that His place glory lies ahead (see Philippians 3: 13-14).

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … Help me to keep my eyes on the prize - Your prize!! 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.