Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September 30, 2015:  Finding the Light

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 272

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of an anonymous group singing… Let Your Light Shine in the Darkness, … praying in song for Christ to shine His Light into the darkness of this world.


Highlight Passage:   Jonah 2: 1-2, 7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
…  Sometimes it takes the darkness to be able to find the Light.
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Highlight Context – Jonah 2: 1-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  From the darkness of the belly of a big fish, Jonah prays for God’s light to give him life
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Reference Passage #1 - John 1: 4-5 [NKJV] … 
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 
… Jesus is always our light in the darkness of life.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, teaches that often we have to be led into the darkness of life to seek out and find the Light of Christ.

 That was certainly the case for the Prophet, Jonah, wasn’t it? He rebelled and disobeyed God; and so to re-find THE WAY, God led him into a shipwreck and then into the belly of a big fish so that this rebellious prophet would then seek and be able to find God’s light burning within.

 Is anyone, besides myself, in a place where we need to see more of God’s Light in our life? Author

Schuldt, in today’s ODB entry, quotes from a classic Puritan prayer, entitled, “The Valley of Vision.” … Schuldt writes: ”Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision . . . ; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.” Aware of his wrongs, the man still has hope. He continues, “Stars can be seen from the deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine.” Finally, the poem ends with a request: “Let me find Thy light in my darkness, . . . Thy glory in my valley.”

 Is that your prayer today? … It sure is mine.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … as I pray almost every day, shine Your light so brightly on my path that I can’t help but see it and follow it toward Your glory.  … Amen  

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

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September 29, 2015:  Shine, Jesus, Shine!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 271  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of the group Hillsong singing… Shine, Jesus, Shine, … declaring how the light of Christ will one day shine forever in glory on all who love Him.


Highlight Passage:   Isaiah 60: 19 [NKJV] …  
19 “The sun shall no longer be your light by day, … nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; … but the Lord will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory. 
…  Oh how we look forward to Jesus becoming the Light He promised in glory.
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Highlight Context – Isaiah 60: 19-22 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Isaiah prophesies as to that day in glory when there will be no more darkness … with the glory of God providing all light - FOREVER!!
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Reference Passage #1 - John 9: 4-5 [NKJV] … 
4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 
… As Jesus was about to give sight to the blind man.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Julie Ackerman Link, used a personal vision of the Northern Lights (see attached photo) as a foretaste of how we can look forward to the light of Christ, one day in glory, illuminating Heaven to eliminate the darkness we now see in the world.

 When our Lord was on earth, walking with His confused and troubled Disciples, He declared that HE was the “Light of the world.” That became exceedingly confusing to His inner 12, especially when He died on the cross. But they - and we - have now come to see how we need to be praying, as the group, Hillsong, sings in the song linked above, “Shine, Jesus, Shine!!”

 Yes, the Light, Who is Christ, will one day dispel the darkness this world completely; and there will be no sin causing the blackness we see in the world today. So, sing and pray with me …

SHINE, JESUS, SHINE!!!

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … come soon and shine Your Light on all.  … Amen  

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

Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28, 2015:  Open-handed Giving

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 270  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of an anonymous praise chorus, singing… I Surrender All, … expressing the attitude of the heart of a giving/living Christian … the attitude of surrender; … and hear the prayer at the end of the video … that’s my prayer for any here today.


Highlight Passage:   Philippians 2: 25, 29 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Paul’s open-hand giving and his concern for His fellow Christians
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Highlight Context – Philippians 2: 19-30 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Paul shows the loving/giving Spirit for His fellow Christians in Philippi, … even while imprisoned.
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Reference Passage #1 - Philippians 2: 3, 4 [NKJV] … 
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 
… Paul preached it; … then he lived it!!

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David C McCasland, used the Apostle Paul, writing to his beloved fellow Christians in Philippi, as an example of what should be the Christlike way of giving and sharing [see the highlight passages from Philippians, Chapter 2 linked above].

 Paul, as you know in the context of his letter to the Philippians, was imprisoned in Rome, being attended by friends, one of whom, Epaphroditus, had been sent from Philippi to help Paul; … and to show what he had exhorted to his fellow Christians in Phil. 2: 3-4, Paul was willing to give up two of his attendant friends and send them back to his fellow Christians in Philippi. And that is today’s ODB lesson in Christlike sharing.

 And it raises the question - at least for me, … “Am I really willing to have a Christlike attitude of open-handed giving when I see others in real need, especially brothers and sisters in Christ who might need what I have to give?”

 I pray so!!

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … help me to be more like You in giving of myself to others.  … 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, September 27, 2015

September 27, 2015:  Helping the Needy

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 269  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of the group Avalon singing… Orphans of God, … expressing how there are no orphans in God’s family … so we must reach out to treat all as God has treated us.

 
Highlight Passage:   Matthew 25: 40 [NKJV]  … 
40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ 
… How are we treating him today?
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Highlight Context – Matthew 25: 31-40 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Jesus will come again to Judge the nations for our compassion or lack thereof
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Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 29: 7 [NKJV] … 
7 The righteous considers the cause of the poor; but the wicked does not understand such knowledge.
… Could the exhortation be any clearer?

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Dave Branon, teaches how Christians must have compassion on the poor by relating the story of one such Christian in the 19th century. Branon wrote for ODB today, … The year was 1780, and Robert Raikes had a burden for the poor, illiterate children in his London neighborhood. He noticed that nothing was being done to help these children, so he set out to make a difference. … He hired some women to set up schools for them on Sunday. Using the Bible as their textbook, the teachers taught the poorest children of London to read and introduced them to the wisdom of the Bible. Soon about 100 children were attending these classes and enjoying lunch in a safe, clean environment. These “Sunday schools,” as they were soon called, eventually touched the lives of thousands of boys and girls. By 1831, Sunday schools in Great Britain reached more than a million children—all because one man understood this truth: “The righteous considers the cause of the poor” (Prov. 29:7). 

Okay, I’m duly convicted; and I certainly don’t have to write any more here to get Branon’s point across more clearly, especially in the teachings of Jesus from the Matthew 25 passage, linked above. Today, and all days, we simply have to look to the attitude we, as Christians, hold for the poor and needy and then we must look to what we’re doing before Christ returns to serve Him in having compassion to those who are Christ in the flesh.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … help me to be more like You in serving 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, September 26, 2015

September 26, 2015:  Newness in Christ

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 268  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Jason Gray singing… Glowing In The Dark, … expressing how we, being born anew in Christ, can shine His light into the world anywhere and at anytime for His glory.


Highlight Passage:   Acts 9: 18 [NKJV]  … 
18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. 
… Saul into Paul … a new creation in Christ
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Highlight Context – Acts, Chapter 9 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Saul … a man transformed into the Apostle Paul
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Reference Passage #1 - 2nd Corinthians 5: 17 [NKJV] … 
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 
… God’s truth, from Paul, as to the newness we can reflect into the world when we’re truly born again and shining the newness into the world.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Randy Kilgore, relates a personal story to illustrate his teaching. He writes: Early in my work life I had a coworker who seemed to delight in using God’s name as a profanity. He mercilessly taunted Christians who were new to their faith or who tried to talk with him about Jesus. On the day I left that job to move to another community and a new place of employment, I remember thinking that this man would never become a follower of Jesus. Two years later I visited my old workplace. He was still there, but never have I witnessed such a dramatic change in a person! This man, so antagonistic to faith, was now a walking, talking example of what it means to be a “new creation” in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). And now, more than 30 years later, he’s still telling others how Jesus “met him where he was—sin and all.” 

I relate very personally with that story because some three + decades ago, I was one of those lost, angry souls, a self-labeled “agnostic,” trying to show my Christian co-workers up as hypocrites. But after a dozen years of this lost cause, God’s Spirit pursued me, broke me, and transformed me into the man who writes this blog, … a born-again, ordained Minister of the Gospel.

 And I also identify with the highlight passage above of the conversion and transformed life of Saul of Tarsus into the Apostle Paul, the man who once persecuted Christians even unto death and then became one of greatest living missionaries in the new church, writing two-thirds of the New Testament and spreading the Gospel message into much of the known world at the time.

 PLEASE take the time to mediate on today’s Scriptures and to see the video of the linked song above; and I will pray that we’ll go out today and shine the newness of Christ into a world who desperately needs to see the new creation we’re becoming.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, …I am the newness of Christ; and so, let all who join in this transformation show it off to a world who desperately needs 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, September 25, 2015

September 25, 2015:  Walking to/with/for Jesus

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 267  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Chris Rice singing… Come To Jesus, … declaring what should be the desire of all in Christ … to walk to Jesus … then walk with Jesus … then for Jesus


Highlight Passage:   Romans 8: 16 [NKJV]  … 
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, … 
… We can walk to/with/for Jesus because He has placed His family marker on us, … His Holy Spirit.
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Highlight Context – Romans 8: 14-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  We are children of God, born-again to walk to Jesus, with Jesus, and for Jesus.
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Reference Passage #1 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] … 
Then He (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. 
… And thats where and how all Christians should walk … As He walked and where He leads us.

Reference Passage #2 - 1st Corinthians 11: 1 [NIV] … 
1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 
… Paul had learned that as long as he could/would walk with Christ, he could lead others to do the same thing.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Phillip Yance, relays a word picture in his devotional entry which we often read in the New Testament authors, especially from Paul; and that is our becoming a part of the God’s family when we are born-again. And after that conversion from selfhood to “Savior-hood” we must learn to take our first steps, as “babes-in-Christ” and walk to and after Jesus, as is pictured in the attached photo.

 And in that process of walking TO Christ, sometimes we get waylaid by our own selfishness or the lures of Satan to walk away from our Lord. But when we focus away from our self and onto our Lord, as Jesus taught in Luke 9: 23, we begin to walk with more confidence, walking WITH Jesus. Then as Paul demonstrated in 1st Cor. 11:1, we can more confidently lead others to follow those who know how to walk FOR Jesus.

 So, the ODB teaching today begs the question: WHERE AND HOW AM I WALKING IN MY FAITH TODAY? … Am I walking TO or WITH or FOR Jesus; and where should I walk to be a more effective disciple today?

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … I follow You, and I pray to be walking today as I strive each day. to walk FOR You.  … Amen  

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

Thursday, September 24, 2015

September 24, 2015:  Strength from Setback

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 266  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Laura Story singing the song, written by her in a time of desperation … Blessings, … declaring the how life’s blessings often come hidden in the challenges and setbacks of life… And then ON TO THIS LINK  for Steven Curtis Chapman singing his poignant song - His Strength Is Perfect … especially when we confronted with the setbacks of life.


Highlight Passage:   Psalm 27: 14 [NKJV]  … 
14 Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your hear. … 
…  Setbacks often give the lift we need to move ahead in life.
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Highlight Context – Psalm 27 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  He is our strength, especially when our strength is gone.
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Reference Passage #1 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 9 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s empowering grace is always sufficient.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, relates a story about the Olympic swimmer Dara Torres (see attached photo) to illustrate his point that God often allows setbacks in our lives to give us the lift we need to be his strong witness.

 Crowder writes … American swimmer Dara Torres had a remarkable career, appearing in five different Olympics from 1984 to 2008. Late in her career, Torres broke the US record for the 50-meter freestyle—25 years after she herself set that record. But it wasn’t always medals and records. Torres also encountered obstacles in her athletic career: injuries, surgery, as well as being almost twice the age of most other competitors. She said, “I’ve wanted to win at everything, every day, since I was a kid. . . . I’m also aware that setbacks have an upside; they fuel new dreams.” 

Actually I’m writing this blog a bit later in the day than usual because I’m facing one of those “setbacks.” I have contracted acute bronchitis; and this morning - my usual devotional time - in a febrile state, I was coughing so severely I couldn’t concentrate to meditate and journal in a morning quiet time with God. And even right now, when I’ve calmed down a bit, I still am coughing rather profusely. But I know the truth of what the Psalmist penned in Psalm 27 is truth; and I simply didn’t want to let this setback keep me from some special time with God.

 And, though later than usual, I come here this afternoon and God’s timing with Bill Crowder’s devotional was perfect for my weakened state, … realizing that I can rely on God’s strength when I’m weak as I am now … and as Laura Story wrote in her song, “Blessings,” I may just be getting the blessing I need by coming to my God in my little setback state today.

 Right now, though, I must admit that I don’t feel like this is a blessing; but I trust my God to get me through this and help me to move on in His strength.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … Give me the strength I need when mine is gone.  … 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, September 23, 2015

September 23, 2015:  The “BESTEST” Love

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 265  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Steven Curtis Chapman singing his song, written for the love of his life, … his wife, … I Will Be Here, … declaring the love of a man for his dearest … picturing the love which the Bridegroom, Jesus, has for the love of His life, … The Bride in the Church … And then ON TO THIS LINK for an anonymous praise group singing, Oh, How He Loves You and Me


Highlight Passage:   1st John 4: 19[NKJV]  … 19 We love Him because He first loved us. 
…  His love was/is perfect!!
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Highlight Context – Song of Songs 1: 1-4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Our Bridegroom’s love for His Bride is the deepest love of all.
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Reference Passage #1 - John 3: 16 [NKJV] … {I’m sure you know this one; … so revel in the depth of God’s love for you today!} 
…  God’s love is the“bestest” love of all.

Reference Passage #2 - 1st Corinthians 13: 4-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  This is real love ... God's love.  

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Keila Ochoa, relates a very personal observation to illustrate his devotional entry. She writes … “He’s perfect for you,” my friend told me. She was talking about a guy she had just met. She described his kind eyes, his kind smile, and his kind heart. When I met him I had to agree. Today he’s my husband, and no wonder I love him!

And then, referring to the highlight Scripture passage from Song of Solomon, Ochoa adds: In the Song of Solomon the bride describes her lover. His love is better than wine and more fragrant than ointments. His name is sweeter than anything in this world. So she concludes that it’s no wonder he is loved. 

Today, if one (maybe you) takes in the attached photo, the linked songs, and the Scriptures provided above, I really don’t think I have to write very much today, do I? … Today’s entry is all about LOVE (see the passage from 1st Cor. 13 above), which is the “bestest love of all” when seen in God’s love for you and me … in that He gave His Son, Jesus, to die in perfect love for us. And we, His Church, are His bride; and in the love He has for us, He’s going to come again - maybe today! - to get His Bride to be with Him for eternity.

 Is there any love greater than that? … So, how can we show our love for our Bridegroom today?

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … Thank You for Your love.  … 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, September 22, 2015

September 22, 2015:  Resisting the Bait

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 264  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Nichole Nordeman singing her song, Finally Free, … declaring how, when we, as Christians, can resist Satan’s lures and walk free from the bondage of our sin nature.


Highlight Passage:   1st Peter 5: 9 [NKJV]  … 
9 Resist him [SATAN], steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 
…  We can resist the bait of temptation in Christ.
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Highlight Context – 1st Peter 5: 1-9 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Satan pursues us with his tempting lures, stalking us as a lion.
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Reference Passage #1 - James 4: 7 [NKJV] … 
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you. 
…  We can resist the ploys of Satan by surrendering to the power God has given us in His grace.

Reference Passage #2 - 2 Timothy 2: 1-2, 22 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  Walking free and strong in the Lord and teaching others to do the same thing.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David Egner, relates a personal fishing story to illustrate his devotional entry. Egner writes … I was fishing quietly on the clear, still waters of Piatt Lake, casting next to a lush weed bed. I watched a large smallmouth bass sneak out of the thick vegetation to investigate. He approached the tempting night crawler on the end of my line, stared at it, and backed into the weeds. This happened several times until he spotted the hook. Then he whipped his tail and disappeared into his lair, never to come out again. 

Isn’t it so like Satan to throw out his fat, juicy, tempting lures to try and snag us by our sin nature; but like the large-mouth bass in the attached photo, we’re the ones who must take the bait to be caught by our own greed and selfishness. And if we’re like the bass in Egner’s story, seeing the bait as the danger it is, we can simply turn away and swim free in the clear waters of life.

 I think the picture is clear enough; don’t you? We, as the Christians Nichole Nordeman sings about in the linked song above, can be free indeed; … but only if we’re willing to surrender to God’s empowering grace in us. Jesus has given us the discerning power to see and resist the lures Satan uses and to resist his attempts to snag us. But the power we have can only be used in our surrender to our Lord.

 So, as the Scriptures above teach, my friends, swim free and resist the wiles of the Devil.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … Help me see Satan’s ploys to tempt me.  … Amen  

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

Monday, September 21, 2015

September 21, 2015:  Alive With Hope

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 263

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Gordon Mote singing the song, Don’t Let Me Miss the Glory, … declaring how we should live this life God has given us … to live and love for God’s glory. [Don’t miss this one!!!] 



Highlight Passage:   Ecclesiastes 9: 4 [NKJV]  … 
14 But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, … 
…  All who live have hope … especially those in Christ
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Highlight Context – Ecclesiastes 9: 4-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Life is a gift and we must use it for God’s glory … while we have it.
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Reference Passage #1 - John 6: 47 [NKJV] … 
47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 
…  Yes, in Christ, we will have eternal life; but in this temporal life, we need to live it for the Lord.

Reference Passage #2 - Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  The gift of life should be lived as a living sacrifice to our Lord.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, relates a very personal story to illustrate her devotional entry. Schuldt writes … When I first began working in the small office I now rent, the only inhabitants were a few mopey flies. Several of them had gone the way of all flesh, and their bodies littered the floor and windowsills. I disposed of all but one, which I left in plain sight. That fly carcass reminded me to live each day well. Death is an excellent reminder of life, and life is a gift. 

That’s an interesting way to remind one of what Solomon wrote in his reflections on life in the book of Ecclesiastes (see highlight passage linked above). Life is a gift; and, as Solomon reflected, we need to use it for the purpose God gave life to us - to glorify Him. Yes, believing in Christ gives me eternal life (see John 6: 47); but we have this temporal gift of living as well; and we should use it for His purposes and for His glory.

 Yes … TODAY!!!

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … Help me - lead me - to live 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, September 20, 2015

September 20, 2015:  Commitment To Surrender

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 262

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Brian Littrell singing the old hymn with a modern refrain, I Surrender All, … declaring the posture all Christians must take to receive God’s enabling/empowering grace … especially in dealing with the trials of life.


Highlight Passage:   Psalm 31: 14 [NKJV]  … 
14 But as for me, I trust You, O Lord; … I say, “You are my God!” 
…  Commitment to trust.
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Highlight Context – Psalm 31 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Being in surrender mode in Life - total trust in God, no matter what happens.
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Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  We know it’s true; but do we live as if it is when trials come.

Reference Passage #2 - Romans 8: 28 [NKJV] … 
28 All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purposes. 
…  Really?!! ALL THINGS?!!

Reference Passage #3 - 1st Peter 5: 7 [NKJV] … 
7 … casting all your cares on Him because He cares for you. …  Yes, … ALL cares!

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson, relates a very personal story tragedy in his life, where he lost his only brother. He writes, … As I sat in the surgical waiting room, I had time to think. I had been here recently, when we received the jarring news that my only brother, much too young, was “brain dead.” … And so on this day, waiting for news about my wife who was undergoing a serious surgical procedure, I penned a lengthy note to her. Then, surrounded by nervous chatter and oblivious children, I listened for the quiet voice of God. Suddenly, news! The surgeon wanted to see me. I went to a secluded room to wait. There, on the table, sat two tissue boxes, conspicuously available. They weren’t for the sniffles. They were for cold, hard phrases like I heard when my brother died—“brain dead” and “nothing we can do.”

What does one do when we are confronted by the prospects of potential disaster or very real personal loss? That’s what David was dealing with when he penned his song of life-threatening challenge and personal surrender to God in Psalm 31 (please meditate on this linked passage above). There are times when we, who’ve surrender our hearts to Christ, come to a wall of choice … and we either must surrender all to the Lord … or NOT!

 And often when the circumstances are as Tim G writes above, it’s way hard to stay in surrender mode, isn’t it? But we must do what Peter wrote about to Christians who were being persecuted and martyred in Asia Minor in his day.  We must simply give it over to God, knowing that He’ll never leave nor forsake us [see 1st Peter 5: 7].

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … No matter what, I know that You are my God and never out of control.  … 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, September 19, 2015

September 19, 2015:  Our Suffering for HIM

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 261

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a video of Ray Boltz singing the song, Feel The Nails, … where the suffering of Christ is depicted in song and film; and perhaps our desire as Christians to honor our Lord with the suffering of our transformation in His Name and for His glory is felt.

 
Highlight Passage:   2nd Corinthians 11: 30 [NKJV]  … 
30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. 
…  “No big deal!” … All Paul went through he knew was his living sacrifice for the Gospel. 
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Highlight Context – 2nd Corinthians 11: 21-30 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …    
…  Paul knew what suffering was all about - only about living for His Lord.
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Reference Passage #1 - Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  Let us be “living sacrifices” and let our lives - our actions - show who we are in Christ. And if those actions produce suffering — so be it!

Reference Passage #2 - 1st Peter 2: 21 [NKJV] … 
21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: … 
…  Our Lord suffered for us; and when we suffer for Him, it is an honorable sacrifice …

  My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, inspired by the depiction of the suffering of Christ in a movie like that of Mel Gibson’s, The Passion of The Christ writes: The close-up image on the giant screen was big and sharp, so we could see the deep cuts on the man’s body. A soldier beat him while an angry crowd laughed at the man whose face was now covered with blood. The scenes appeared so real that, in the silence of the open-air theater, I cringed and grimaced as if I could feel the pain myself. But this was only a film reenactment of Jesus’ suffering for us. 

That was my reaction too when I saw Gibson’s moving film depicting the suffering our Lord went through to save me from my sin and defeat death. And what I go through, i.e., any suffering, in His name seems so paltry; but as the Apostle Paul testified (see the highlight passage linked above), anytime we can have the opportunity (and yes, it is an OPPORTUNITY) to suffer in Christ’s Name and for His glory, we need to revel in the chance to be what Paul described in Romans 12: 1, … “a living sacrifice” for Christ. And Paul even was led to boast about the infirmities he incurred in witness of suffering for the Gospel.

 Today, perhaps God will lead us to be His witness and suffer a bit in His Name and for the Father’s glory. So, may we be ready and willing to do so.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … No matter what, I know that You are a 2am (or anytime) Friend for me.  … Amen

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

Friday, September 18, 2015

September 18, 2015:  2 AM Friends

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 260

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Steve Green singing the song, Find Us Faithful, … declaring the hope that we can be as faithful to others, perhaps praying for them, as Jesus is faithful and prays for us.


Highlight Passage:   Colossians 4: 12 [NKJV]  … 
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 
…  Now there’s a prayer warrior.
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Highlight Context – Colossians 4: 2-15 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  How wonderful to have loyal prayer partners who respond in prayer anytime/anywhere. 
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Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 18: 24 [NKJV] … 
24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. 
…  If we desire to have “2am friends,” we must be one to them.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland, writes A friend told me about a group of people who share a strong bond of faith in Christ. One of them, a 93-year-old woman, said, “I feel like I can call any of you at 2 a.m., and I don’t even have to apologize if I feel the need for any type of assistance.” Whether the need is prayer, practical help, or someone to be there during a time of need, these friends are unconditionally committed to each other. 

Do you have 2am friends? These would be friends who would be there to help or pray with you even if you called at 2am (see attached photo) needing assistance. I am blessed to have such friends, … several in fact; … and I pray that I’m a friend to them as Epaphras was to his Colossian brothers/sisters [see the highlight passage above].

 So, let’s do all we can to be a 2am friend to someone and pray they will be for us.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … No matter what, I know that You are a 2am (or anytime) Friend for me.  … Amen

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

Thursday, September 17, 2015

September 17, 2015:  Yes, God Cares!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 259

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing their song, All Is Well, … declaring the reality and truth that no matter what God allows or brings, … He is in control.


Highlight Passage:   Habakkuk 1: 3 [NKJV]  … 
3  Why do You (God) show me iniquity and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; … there is strife; … and contention arises. 
… It’s so easy, as it was for Habakkuk, to think God doesn’t care when so much evil seems to prevail in the world.
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Highlight Context – Habakkuk 1: 1-11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Life can be very confusing at times, even for a Prophet of God.
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Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  When we can’t find our way, Whom do we trust to lead us forward?

Reference Passage #2 - Isaiah 55: 8-9 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  God’s ways are just a mystery at times … requiring that we trust that He is in control.

Reference Passage #3 - Romans 8: 28 [NKJV] … 
28 All things work together for the good of those who love God and are the called according to His purposes. 
 … Yeah, … it’s true … but do we believe it … do we live it?

  Reference Passage #4 - 1st Peter 5: 7 [NKJV] … 
7 … cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you. 
… Peter declares what we all should remember - and do - when things get rough.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Poh Fang Chia, took me back to one of my favorite characters in the Old Testament, … the confused Prophet, Habakkuk, who prophesied to God’s people in Judah after Assyria had taken over the northern tribes of Israel. And in this OT book, Habakkuk’s journal of faith (or lack thereof), is a word from God about which I can totally identify. 

There are times in life - at least for me - when one wants to cry out… “WHY, GOD?!!” …  Ever felt that way? … Certainly in these 21st century times, we see things going on where our faith is challenged and we want to question God as did Habakkuk in his day [see the highlight passages linked above].

 Habakkuk just couldn’t understand why God was not acting to correct the sin and corruption Habakkuk saw being perpetrated in his day; so he cried out, in his confusion, to His God, … just as we should if we have faith challenges today. Because, if we go back to Habakkuk, we’ll see that God set him straight and told the Prophet to go to a high place and see that things were going to get worse before they got better; … and they did.

 God is no less in control now than He was in Habakkuk’s time; and we need to come to the realization of faith, which Habakkuk finally did, … that God is sovereign and sometimes we just don’t know what His plan is all about (see Isaiah 55: 8-9). But we also need to grasp the truth espoused by Solomon (see Prov. 3: 5-6) and by Peter (in 1st Peter 5: 7 and simply cast our cares on God, trusting that He has a plan which Paul declared [see Romans 8: 28] would always be for the good of those who love God and pursue His purposes.

 If we believe that, … let’s go live it!!

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … I trust You … even when I don’t get what You’re all about.  … 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, September 16, 2015

September 16, 2015:  Feeling Forlorn and Forsaken

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 258  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of lyrics and poignant images with Steve Green singing Find Us Faithful, … with a Christian commitment to run the race of life faithful to the heritage of great Christians who’ve gone before.


Highlight Passage:   Psalm 22: 1-2 [NKJV]  … 
1 My God, My God, why have You forsaken me? … Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning? 2 O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season and am not silent. 
 … David singing of his own forlorn spirit but also prophesying what Jesus would say from the Cross (see Matthew 27: 46).
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Highlight Context – Psalm 22: 1-21 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  David’s forlorn song of anguish, feeling that God was far away.
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 31: 8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  God will not only never forsake us; but He will go ahead and lead us; … but we must follow Him faithfully, following the example of the faithful who’ve gone before us.

Reference Passage #2 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  At times we must trust in our God Who may seem not to be listening.

Reference Passage #3 - Hebrews 12: 1-2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  Running the race as faithful followers of those who’ve gone before us.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Dennis Fisher, uses an illustration from C.S. Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters to point to a great truth. Fisher writes: [In The Screwtape Letters] … an imaginary conversation between a senior devil and a junior devil as they discuss how to properly tempt a Christian. The two devils desired to destroy the believer’s faith in God. “Be not deceived,” the senior devil says to the junior. “Our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human . . . looks round upon a universe in which every trace of [God] seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” 

Oh, … would Lewis’ supposition be true? And there are many great biblical witnesses of faith who’ve gone before us who remained obedient and trusted God in spite of great hardship and forlorn feelings. David in today’s highlight song (from Psalm 22) felt terribly forlorn, just as Jesus did on the cross when He quoted Psalm 22 just before He died. Job certainly felt forlorn and even abandoned as we read in his journal (i.e., the book of Job). Abram at one time felt that God’s promise was not forthcoming. And one of my OT favorites, Habakkuk had a crisis of faith when, in His poetic book, the prophet came to God with confused feelings that God was so far away.

 But in all these biblical instances, the forlorn feelings of these believers, and most certainly those of our Savior on the cross, turned to faith and trust in God to save them from their feelings of emptiness. And they can be - and should be - the models for us, especially that of Jesus, … that we must go forward when God feels distant; and we must, as the author of Hebrews wrote (see Hebrews 12: 1-2 linked above), run the race of life, following those great witnesses who’ve gone before us.

 So, … today, … if God feels far away, let us do as Steve Green sings and run the course of life following the faith in God of those who’ve gone before us.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … show me THE way, … Your way … from the light of Your word; and even when I feel distant from You, help me to pursue the path of those who’ve come before me in faith.  … 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, September 15, 2015

September 15, 2015:  Compass and Lamp

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 257  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of lyrics and images of a the Maranatha Singers singing Thy Lamp, … praising God for the Lamp He gives us through His word to lead us through the trek of life.


Highlight Passage:   Psalm 119: 104 [NKJV]  … 
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my patch … Following God’s word is the only way to find our way safely through the darkness and dangers of our trek through the minefields of life.
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Highlight Context – Psalm 119: 105-112 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  God shows us the way in life by the compass and light of His word.
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 31: 8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  God will go ahead and lead us; but we must follow Him; and the best way to do that is by using His compass - God’s word!

Reference Passage #2 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  Trusting and following God’s word is the only way we can find our way through the minefields of life.

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.” 
…  And where do we find God’s commandments? … Duh! … In His word.

Reference Passage #4 - 1st Corinthians 11: 1 [MEV] … 
1 Follow me as I follow Christ. 
 …  Paul knew where to walk through the minefields of life, didn’t he?

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Marvin Williams, tells a story to illustrate his teaching point. He writes … During World War II, small compasses saved the lives of 27 sailors 300 miles off the coast of North Carolina. Waldemar Semenov, a retired merchant seaman, was serving as a junior engineer aboard the SS Alcoa Guide when a German submarine surfaced and opened fire on the ship. The ship was hit, caught fire, and began to sink. Semenov and his crew lowered compass-equipped lifeboats into the water and used the compasses to guide them toward the shipping lanes closer to shore. After three days, the men were rescued. 

Finding our way through the minefields of life can be challenging at times, can’t it? In mentoring others, I’ve often asked the question … “If you were forced to walk through a minefield, would you rather go it on your own or follow someone who knows exactly where the mines are?” … Duh, … The answer is a no-brainer, right?

 And as we walk through life, the word and truth of today’s highlight passage/verse rings true. God’s word is our compass and our lamp to find our way in life. The Bible, i.e., His word, is our guide through the minefield; and I, for one come here everyday, taking that guide into my life so that I can follow it as my compass and my torch as I follow the One and only guide through the minefields of life; and that, of course, is our Lord, Jesus [see John 14:21].

 In today’s highlight passage you can read just how much the Psalmist relied on God’s word as His lamp to guide his footsteps (see Psalm 119: 105 and the song linked above). And I love it when you read Paul’s confident declaration to Christians in 1st Cor. 11:1, where he said to Corinth, “Follow me a I follow Christ!” [Modern English Version]

 Again today, I’m here, using the compass of God’s truth and the light of His word, to guide me through life - especially through the minefields I may encounter even today. Because I know that if I follow Christ’s lead closely, He’s going to lead me and go ahead of me (see also Deut. 31: 8).

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … show me THE way, … Your way … from the light of 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.

Monday, September 14, 2015

September 14, 2015:  Words and Deeds

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 256  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing Let My Words Be Few, … letting our life show how much we love Jesus.


Highlight Passage:   Matthew 21: 32  [NKJV]  … 
32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him. 
… To the religious leaders of His day, Jesus reminded them how they responded to John the Baptist’s call for repentance, telling them straight where they stood as disobedient sons of God. 
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Highlight Context – Matthew 21: 28-32 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Jesus’ parable of two sons, … one obedient and one disobedient; … which are we? 
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Reference Passage #1 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  Flat out - this is how Jesus expected His disciples to live.

Reference Passage #2 - Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  Let us be “living sacrifices” and let our lives - our actions - show who we are in Christ.

Reference Passage #3 - Galatians 5: 22-23 [NKJV] … 
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 
 …  Life-affirming actions are the fruit of God’s Spirit; … hence, we are to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Reference Passage #4 - 1st John 3: 18 [NKJV] … 
18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 
…  About as clear as God’s word can say it. He honors what we do as the fruit of His Spirit.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Dave Branon, interprets a quote from Matthew Henry, who used a plant analogy when writing of our words and promises as opposed to our deeds and actions. Henry wrote, ”Buds and blossoms are not fruit.” Whereas Branon wrote, … [Our] … “Words are the blossoms, … action the fruit.”

 And that was the essence of what Jesus put before the religious leaders of his day in the parable about two young men in Matthew, Chapter 21 [linked above]. One son was reluctant to follow his father, … first balking on a promise, but ultimately doing what the dad requested. The other son, said he would do what the father asked; but then did not. And Jesus, indicating that the religious leaders had taught that righteousness was their lives, when they were unwilling to follow what John the Baptist had preached. And then, to the dismay of the Pharisees, Jesus said that there were tax-collectors and harlots who would be heaven bound because they had repented of their sins to the preaching Jesus’ cousin.

 Which are we? Are we those who live by promises; or are we those who show our love of our Lord with our actions? Will we promise to follow our Lord (see Luke 9: 23) and then do life our own way; or will we actually become a “living sacrifice” (as Paul preached in Romans 12: 1-2) with the fruit of the Spirit being evident in how we live (see Galatians 5: 22-23)?

 Today, I’m praying I can SHOW OFF the fruit of God’s Spirit (see attached photo) and “let my words be few,” as the linked song goes, … showing my love of the Lord by the way I live.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … let me show the fruit of Your Spirit in how I live 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, September 13, 2015

September 13, 2015:  Oh, … The Cross!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 255  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Chris Tomlin singing At the Cross, … where he honors the reality of the greatest sacrifice in the history of mankind, where the blood of the Savior ran red and covered the sins of us all.


Highlight Passage:   John 3: 16 [NKJV]  … 
[I hope we all know and believe Christ’s own words here!!]
… The cross is the ultimate symbol of God’s love.
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Highlight Context – John 3: 13-16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  It’s what He ultimately did on the cross which defeated sin/death.
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah, Chapter 53 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  The Prophesy of The Messiah being crucified for His children.

Reference Passage #2 - Luke 23: 26-49 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  The King dies on a cross.

Reference Passage #3 - Romans 12: 1 [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. 
…  Becoming a living sacrifice to honor our Lord’s blood on the cross.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Marion Stroud, reminded me of the days - for over 30 years - I worked to serve the Veterans of our country in a VA Hospital. And I could recall the feeling we had for the very old, frail vets of World War 2. Many of them were approaching 100 years of age; and they were so feeble; but some still could recall the days of their service and sacrifice and we tried to honor that service by caring for them as we could.

 Today the symbol of the ultimate sacrifice for mankind, though it was in a war between God and Satan, is the the cross. And I can see why angry atheist organizations are doing all they can to eradicate the cross from all public places. They know that this symbol represents the heart and soul of all of Christianity. Because it was at the cross that God’s love was expressed in its ultimate glory, as the blood of the Savior ran red to save us from our sin and to defeat the ultimate enemy, … death. 

Chris Tomlin sings it in the linked song above. Yes, it was “At The Cross,” where Jesus’ blood ran red and, as Isaiah prophesied over 700 years before [see Isaiah, Chapter 53], the innocence of our Savior played out God’s passion to save mankind [see Luke 23 passage linked above].

 Prayerfully we all have come to the cross with our belief in the saving grace of our Lord, Who shed His blood for our sins. And today - as with all days - we need to honor our Lord with our living sacrifice of love for Him (see Romans 12: 1).

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … I come to the cross today and pray for Your strength to allow me to be a sacrifice of love for 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, September 12, 2015

September 12, 2015:  Grace To The Humble

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 254  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Nichole Nordeman singing her song, Finally Free, … where she sings of the grace which frees us from our selves - finally free when we submit ourselves in humility to the freeing grace of God.


Highlight Passage:   Proverbs 13: 10 [NKJV]  … 
10 By pride comes nothing but strife, … but with the well-advised is wisdom. 
… Humility is the human key to unlock God’s wisdom.
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Highlight Context – Proverbs 13: 10-20 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
…  If one surrounds him/her self with wisdom, in humility there will be victory and freedom. 
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Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 3: 34-35 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  God’s enriching/enabling grace can only be visited upon the humble.

Reference Passage #2 - James 4: 6-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  God will only lift up the humble … but can give none of His grace to the proud.

Reference Passage #3 - 1st Peter 5: 5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  Peter as well as James quote from Prov. 3: 34 … that God can only pour his grace into the heart of the humble, resisting that of the proud.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David Roper, relates a telling story of a scene involving two bears [see attached photo]. He wrote: Some years ago, my wife, Carolyn, and I spent a few days camping on the flanks of Mount Rainier in Washington State. When we were returning to our campsite one evening, we saw, in the middle of a meadow two male bears boxing each other’s ears. We stopped to watch. … There was a hiker nearby, and I asked him what the conflict was about. “A young female,” he said. … “Where is she?” I asked. … “Oh, she left about 20 minutes ago,” he chuckled. … Thus, I gathered, the conflict at this point was not about the female bear but about being the toughest bear. 

This rings oh too true about the nature of mankind, doesn’t it? All too often we end up dwelling on something, or even fighting others about some issue, due to our pride. Solomon and Jesus’ brother, James, and the Apostle Peter, quoting from the same text in God’s word (see Proverbs 3: 34) point to how we can only be available to receive God’s saving and sanctifying grace when we humble ourselves before God’s throne of grace. They all point out - in God’s word [see above] - that our Lord cannot - and will not - provide His grace to the prideful, but only the humble.

 So, in taking in all the above truths, I pray that we all are willing to shed our selfishness and pride and be willing to humble ourselves before God’s throne of grace to receive His freeing, enabling, and empowering grace.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … as Nichole Nordeman sings, I pray that anyone reading here with me today is willing to walk free from self and receive the grace of God in humility to walk with Him.  … 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, September 11, 2015

September 11, 2015:  Time In The Garden

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 253  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Alan Jackson singing, the old hymn, In The Garden, … where he sings of the “garden” where we can share time with our Lord, taking in the joy of being with Him and thanking Him for what He languished about that night in the Garden of Gethsemane.

 
Highlight Passage:   Matthew 26: 36a [NKJV]  … 
26 … Then Jesus came with them (His Disciples) to a place called Gethsemane … 
… A garden of olive trees where God’s plan of salvation was set in motion.
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Highlight Context – Matthew 26: 36-42 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray for going to the cross …
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Reference Passage #1 - Genesis 2: 15-16 and Genesis 3: 22-24 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  The garden where life began and where sin entered the garden.

Reference Passage #2 - John 3: 16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  And God sent Jesus, His Son, to make the Garden of life perfect again.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Joe Stowell, tells how he developed his love of gardening, about which he writes, … My forefathers were pioneers in Michigan. They cleared the land, planted crops, and cultivated gardens to raise food for their families. This agrarian bent has been passed down through the generations. My dad grew up on a Michigan farm and loved gardening, which may explain why I love gardening and the smell of fertile soil. Cultivating plants that bear beautiful flowers and tending roses that fragrantly grace our yard with beauty are enjoyable pastimes for me. If it weren’t for the weeds it would be wonderful! 

Two gardens were key to the reality of God’s plan for mankind. One, that Garden in Eden, we know of from Genesis, Chapters 2-3, portions of which are linked above; and then there was that Garden of Olive Trees, written of in Matthew 26, on that mount across from the Temple in Jerusalem, the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus went to pray and launched into His passion where He set in motion the redemption of mankind on a cross near Calvary.

 Yes, as Stowell writes above in today’s ODB entry, gardening seems to be life-bearing venture for mankind, doesn’t it? We can plan and reap what we sow from the earth; but there are always those weeds which get in the way because of what happened in that first Garden. But what happened after Jesus’ encounter with His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane now allows mankind to come back to the Garden of Life to be with God forever.

 So, take heart, all you who love to be gardeners, … God has taken care of the weed problem forever by sending His Son to be the Master Gardener and the One who has completed the work to allow all Who believe in Him to work in God’s garden with Jesus forever.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … as Alan Jackson sings in the linked song above, I come to this garden of peace alone every morning to be with You, knowing that one day we’ll be in Your garden together.  … 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, September 10, 2015

September 10, 2015:  He Lifts Me Up!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 252  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Josh Groban singing, You Raise Me Up, … declaring that we serve and follow a God who lifts us up when we need His strength … And ON TO THIS LINK where Steven Curtis Chapman sings the truth that His Strength Is Perfect … that God will carry us when we can’t carry on.
 


Highlight Passage:   Psalm 34: 4, 7 [NKJV]  … USE THIS LINK
… We can trust in a God Who lifts us up when we need His strength
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Highlight Context – Psalm 34: 1-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  God is our Lifter and our Deliverer …
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Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  When we can’t find our way, Whom do we trust to lead us forward?

Reference Passage #2 - Isaiah 41: 10, 13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…  God promises to lift us up with His mighty right hand.

Reference Passage #3 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 9-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK ... 
… Paul learned that only God’s grace can lift us up when the pain of life is overwhelming

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Cindy Hess Kasper, uses a personal story to illustrate her teaching about the fears we often have in life which paralyze us from moving forward. Kasper tells of her grandmother’s fear of her granddaughter flying, relating … So one year, I decided to fly to visit them in the small town of Land O’Lakes, Wisconsin, for a long weekend. As we drove to the airport for my return flight, Grandma, who had never flown, began to express her fears to me: “That was such a small plane you flew on . . . . There’s nothing really holding you up there, is there? . . . I would be so afraid to go up that high.” 

So many times in life it’s our lack of understanding which causes us to be fearful or to hesitate when the truth and our faith can lift us up and provide the strength to move forward. Today, as you read what I’m writing here, as well as God’s truth in Scripture above, is there anything in your life where you feel overwhelmed or feeling too weak to move forward?

 That’s what young David felt at one time when he was captured by an enemy and had to feign insanity, allowing God to free him and lift him up (see the highlight passage from Psalm 34 linked above). But as Josh Groban sings in the linked song above, God will raise us up when we’re down; or as Steven Curtis Chapman sings, … He will give us the strength, when our strength is gone.

 So, when we need our Lord’s strength to cover our weakness, … let Him be our Lifter … our Deliverer.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … I fly free with You lifting me up.  … 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, September 09, 2015

September 9, 2015:  God’s Fragrance and Love-letter …

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 251  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  … Please take the time to take in a video of Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly singing, Beauty For Ashes, … declaring how God, through our Christian lives. let’s the world see and sense His love and beauty. … And ON TO THIS LINK where Steve Green sings the truth that People Need The Lord … and they will only experience Him through us today if we are His fragrance and show His love in what we say and do.


Highlight Passage:   2nd Corinthians 2: 14 and 3:3 [NKJV]  … USE THIS LINK
… Christian living is God’s fragrance and a love letter for others in our lives
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Highlight Context – 2nd Corinthians 2:14-3:3 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  We, as Christians, should be God’s fragrance in a very smelly world … His love letter, written by God’s Spirit in how we think, speak, and live.
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Reference Passage #1 - John 13: 34-35 [NKJV] … 
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” 
… The world senses God’s Spirit in us when we show His love in a growingly love-starved world.

Reference Passage #2 - Ephesians 4: 1-3 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK …
... When we walk worthy to our calling as Christians, we become God’s fragrance in a very stinky world … we are His love letter to others who need to hear from Him.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, begins his devotional entry today with the following observation: Every time I get close to a rosebush or a bouquet of flowers, I’m unable to resist the temptation to pull a flower toward my nose to savor the fragrance. The sweet aroma lifts up my heart and triggers good feelings within me. 

I’m the same way; … how about you? The world is becoming an ever stinkier place, isn’t it? And when we have the opportunity to “stop and smell the roses” … or possibly the wild flowers, as depicted in the attached photo, it becomes a welcome respite of God’s fragrance; and we get a little of what Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly sing in the linked song above, … God’s “Beauty for Ashes.”

 The Apostle Paul realized this when we wrote to his beloved fellow Christians in Corinth, … a group of Christians who were falling prey to the stench of the world; and God, through Paul’s writings, was helping these fellow Christians to recognize that when they lived as true, born-again and Spirit-filled Christians, they became God’s fragrance and a love-letter, sharing His love and beauty with a growingly smelly world in need of God’s love.

 Fast forward over 2000 years; and we smell the stench of this world and we experience how love-starved it is. And so, we need to recognize and realize how we become the very fragrance of God when we live and love as Christians; … and we write His love-letters to the unloved when we think, speak, and live in a Christ-like manner.

 So, let’s go out and be God’s fragrance and His love-letter to someone today.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … Let others sense You in me as I live - for You - 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.