Saturday, October 31, 2015

October 31, 2015:  Make Over In Christ

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 303  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Queen Latifah singing a song from the movie “Joyful Noise” … Fix Me Jesus, … with a prayer for Jesus to make us over into His image to prepare us for His glory.


Highlight Passage:   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. 
…  Brand new!!!
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Highlight Context – 2nd Corinthians 5: 14-21 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… In Christ we are being made over into HIS image.
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Reference Passage #1 - Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Make over into a living sacrifice, proving that we are new in Christ.

Reference Passage #2 - Philippians 1: 6 [NKJV] … 
6 … being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; … 
… God’s Spirit … making us over into the image of our Savior.

Reference Passage #3 - Colossians 3: 12-13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… The character of the new man (or woman) … in Christ.

Reference Passage #4 - 1st Peter 1: 13-16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Peter exhorting the church to be holy as they were recreated in the image of THE HOLY One, … Jesus, their Messiah.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Dave Branon, uses a personal illustration to teach about becoming who we are in Christ. He writes, It was time to fix the trim on the windows of our house. So I scraped, sanded, and applied wood filler to get the aging trim ready for paint. After all of my efforts—including a coat of primer and some too-expensive paint—the trim looks, well, pretty good. But it doesn’t look new. The only way to make the trim look new would be to replace the old wood. … It’s okay to have weather-damaged window trim that looks “pretty good” to our eye. But when it comes to our sin-damaged hearts, it’s not enough to try to fix things up. From God’s point of view, we need all things to become new ( see 2nd Cor. 5:17). 

How often do we, as born-again Christians, try to put on a mask of self-control or to put on some paint to cover over some really rotten wood on the inside? Too often, I would guess!

When we become a Christian (I mean FOR REAL!), we are what Paul wrote about to the Christians in Corinth (again, see the highlight passage above). We are new, leaving the old behind; and God’s Spirit desires to make us over into the image of Christlikeness (see Phil. 1:6). He desires, as Peter wrote in 1st Peter 1:13-16, linked above, to live on the inside as well as the outside, … as Christ called us to live … in holiness.

 Now, it’s true that the Heavenly Father sees all born-again Christians in the image of His Son, Who paid the price of our make-over on the cross. But we still must live as Paul exhorted the Church [see Romans 12: 1-2 and Colossians 3:12-13]; and we must pray as Queen Latifah so poignantly sings, for Jesus to fix us and make us over in His image day by day. … Not just a paint job on the outside; but on the inside too.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, Jesus! … 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.

Friday, October 30, 2015

October 30, 2015:  Our Anchor Holds

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 302

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of George Beverly Shea singing an old hymn … The Anchor Holds, … strongly declaring how our anchor of faith needs to be fixed to the “Rock of Ages,” … Jesus.


Highlight Passage:   Mark 4: 39 [NKJV] …
39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm 
…  Jesus controls everything and is our ROCK.
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Highlight Context – Mark 4:35-41 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…I n spite of a horrible, threatening storm, Jesus’ disciples were learning that their faith need not falter with Jesus in the boat.
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 26: 3 [NKJV] … 
3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. 
… We will only find peace in the storms of life when our mind is strongly fixed to the Rock of Ages.

Reference Passage #2 - Philippians 4: 6-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Peace in the midst of any storm, found when we fix our faith in Christ and bring Him our storms in prayer.

Reference Passage #3 - 1st Peter 1: 6-9 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Holding on to the faith which is anchored to Christ in our salvation.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Albert Lee, writes, No one is exempt from the storms of life. But just as the disciples who initially feared the storm later came to revere Christ more, so the storms we face can bring us to a deeper knowledge of God. “Who is this,” the disciples pondered, “even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4: 41). Through our trials we can learn that no storm is big enough to prevent God from accomplishing His will. 

So, as you listen to George Beverly Shea sing the old hymn linked above, and see the attached image, I think we must ask ourselves whether our anchor of faith is firmly affixed to ROCK OF AGES, our Savior, Jesus. Because if it is, no matter what storms we face may do to rock our boat, we know that He is in control and will keep us - even though we may die - with Him.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, Jesus! … “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.” … 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, October 29, 2015

October 29, 2015:  God’s Warnings

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 301  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of the group 4Him singing a song of truth… The Basics of Life, … strongly declaring how this world needs to return to God’s way and seek His will for living.

 
Highlight Passage:   Hebrews 10: 32 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
…  God’s own rejecting His love warning!
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Highlight Context – Jeremiah 18: 1-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… God, thru Jeremiah, warned His people; but they wouldn’t heed God’s love.
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Reference Passage #1 - 2nd Chronicles 36: 15 [NKJV] … 
15 And the Lord God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. 
… How many warnings does God have to send before His children listen?

Reference Passage #2 - Romans 1: 18-32 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… See today’s headlines and view the culture and then read God’s warning.  ... SCARY!!! 

Reference Passage #3 - Hebrews 12: 5-6 [NKJV] … 
5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: … “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, … Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6  For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” [Prov. 3:11-12] 
… God’s word tells us not to despise God’s warnings because they show the Love of our Heavenly Father.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, uses a personal story to illustrate her ODB truth about God’s warning and His chastening. Schuldt writes, As a young girl I went with my parents to visit my great-grandmother, who lived near a farm. Her yard was enclosed by an electric fence, which prevented cows from grazing on her grass. When I asked my parents if I could play outside, they consented, but carefully explained that touching the fence would result in an electric shock. … Unfortunately I ignored their warning, put a finger to the barbed wire, and was zapped by an electrical current strong enough to teach a cow a lesson. I knew then that my parents had warned me because they loved me and didn’t want me to get hurt.

OUCH!! … How many times does God have to warn us and clearly show His love for us by chastening us or exhorting us through His word. Certainly we read of God warning His chosen people, the Israelites, over and over and over again in the Old Testament; and finally having to bring or allow disaster to teach them a lesson [see the passages linked above from Jeremiah and 2Chronicles above]. And when I read the New Testament warning from Paul in Romans 1:18-32 [linked above] and see how the world is rebelling against God’s warnings, IT’S SCARY to think what might happen in the future.

 God is our Heavenly Father and His warnings (as it tells us in Hebrews 12:5-6) are expressions of His love by chastening us. I just cringe to thing how our grandchildren might have live out God’s chastening on our current generation for the open disobedience of God’s ways and His will shown by our world today. As the group 4Him sings in the song linked above, “We need to get back to THE BASICS of life!” 

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, Jesus! … Help Your children to heed Your love and Your warnings to get back to living Your way. … Amen  

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

October 28, 2015:  Focusing on Christ

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 300  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of The Maranatha Singers singing one of my favorite praise songs… Jesus, You Are My Life, … strongly declaring what should be the life reality for all Christians - to focus on and pursue a deeper, more abiding relationship with Christ.


Highlight Passage:   Hebrews 10: 32 [NKJV] …  
32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: … 
…  Holding our belief and faith in Christ - NO MATTER WHAT!
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Highlight Context – Hebrews 10: 32-39 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Keeping our belief and focus on Christ even when things go bad.
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 26: 3 [NKJV] … 
3 You will keep him in perfect peace (LORD), whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You.
… Isaiah states where our trust, hope, and peace lies - by focusing on our relationship with the living God.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David C McCasland, used a true story to illustrate his ODB teaching about our focus being on Christ in the midst of the turmoils of the world. McCasland writes, Early in September 2011, a raging wildfire destroyed 600 homes in and around the city of Bastrop in central Texas. A few weeks later an article in the Austin American-Statesman newspaper carried this headline: “People who lost the most, focus on what wasn’t lost.” The article described the community’s outpouring of generosity and the realization of those who received help that neighbors, friends, and community were worth far more than anything they lost. 

And then McCasland referred his readers (me) to the highlight Scripture passage from the the book of Hebrews (see link/reference to Hebrews 10 above), where the author was writing to persecuted Jewish Christians, exhorting and encouraging them to remember, in the midst of turmoil and the fires of life, that they must hold on to their faith and their focus on their relationship with Christ.

 How about it, fellow Christian? In the midst of the fires of life, can we, or DO WE, keep our focus on our Savior? I must admit that this can be a real challenge, … to find peace in the fire storms by focusing on the One and only author of true peace; … JESUS!! And that’s why I believe that it takes proactive discipline to develop a habit of focusing on Christ as deeply as possible when life is not so stormy or fiery. Because when the fire storms come, we need to have developed the habit of turning our focus, almost entirely, on Christ. Then - and only then - will we find any degree of peace in midst of the storms of life.

 That, my fellow Christian, is why you find me here - EVERYDAY - in the peace and quiet of each morning, focusing on my Lord, through His word and in prayer, … developing the faith habit of focusing on Christ - no matter what might come along in the future.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, Jesus! … Help me to keep my focus on You; because, as the Maranatha singers sing, … “You are my life.” … Amen  

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

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

October 27, 2015:  Without Love = Nothing!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 299  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Sara Groves singing her song … Without Love, … strongly declaring the truth of 1st Cor. 13 … that without love we have NOTHING … and as the attached image depicts, we miss the bus we call life.


Highlight Passage:   1st Corinthians 13:1-3 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
…  Without love, as Christians, we accomplish NOTHING!!
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Highlight Context – 1st Corinthians, Chapter 13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  God’s love chapter.  ... But are we on board?!!
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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.” 
… Jesus stings His disciples and the world with His love commandment.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Randy Kilgore, emphasizes the need to reveal God’s love as we strive to reveal Him in our relationships. And Kilgore tells about an older, more mature “Christian [?]” lecturing a younger believer. He writes, … I heard the saddest words today. Two believers in Christ were discussing an issue about which they had differing opinions. The older of the two seemed smug as he wielded Scripture like a weapon, chopping away at the things he saw as wrong in the other’s life. The younger man just seemed weary of the lecture, weary of the other person, and discouraged. …“You missed the chance to love me,” the young man said. “In all the time you’ve known me, what has seemed to matter most to you is pointing out what you think is wrong about me. … What do I want? I want to see Jesus—in you and through you.”

Ouch! … That Randy Kilgore story, the image in the attached photo, as well as Sara Groves’ linked song above, really hit me hard with conviction today. I’m sitting here … asking myself, “How many busses of opportunity to show God’s love have I missed in this life because I didn’t jump on board with Jesus’ command to love others?” [See John 13: 34-35]

UGH!! 

I really don’t have to write any more here, do I? … I’ll let you deal with your feelings as a Christian when you take in all above. But if you feel anything as I do here, … let’s not miss today’s love bus!

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, Jesus! … Help me get on board today with Your love bus. … 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, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015:  God’s Word Is Power

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 298  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of various verses from the Bible expressing … The Power of God’s Word, … declaring various truths from Scripture about how God uses His word for His purposes.


Highlight Passage:   Psalm 119: 11 [NKJV] …  
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin agains You. 
 …  God’s prescription for avoiding sinful living.
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Highlight Context – Psalms 119: 9-16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  A Psalmist who loved and revered the power found in God’s word
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 55: 11 [NKJV] … 
11 So shall my word go forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. 
… God’s word will always accomplish what God desires, especially when it goes out in His Name and for His glory.

Reference Passage #2 - 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… ALL scripture is inspired by God and equips Christian to do His work.

Reference Passage #3 - Hebrews 4: 12 [NKJV] … 
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 
… God’s word is a powerful sword in the hands of a capable Christian warrior.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Keila Ochoa, emphasizes the power of God’s word as she writes … I have a digital edition of the Bible on my reading device. But I still have my favorite printed Bible—the one I have underlined and read many times. We don’t know the future of the printed page, but one thing we do know: The best place for God’s Word is not on our cell phones, electronic reading devices, or bedside table. … Nothing compares to pondering God’s Word, learning more of Him, and putting it into practice in our daily lives. The best place for His Word lies deep in our souls. 

Right on, Keila! You nailed it, girl!! … And may I take a moment to give you a little test as to what you feel is important about God’s word. Here’s my test …
1.  Do you believe what it says in Isaiah 55:11?
___A. Absolutely YES
___B. Absolutely NOT
___C. Let me see what it says first 
2. Where is all truth found? 
___A. The Bible
___B. Science
___C. Worldly Education  3
. If you could do something for 30 minutes every day that would make you a better/stronger Christian, would you do it?
___A. ABSOLUTELY YES! 
___B. Maybe, after I hear what it is
___C. Knowing me, probably not

Well, … my fellow Christian (I’m assuming you are a Christian), if you marked anything by “A” in this 3 question test, you need not read on; because I really don’t think you are serious about the power found in God’s word. But anyone reading here is welcome to read on.

I’m being a bit longer in my journaling today because I’m so passionate about how getting God’s word into my heart (see Ps. 119: 9-11) has transformed my life. I had a mentor who taught me how to memorize Scripture; and he took me on an 18 month journey, memorizing over 70 passages in proper historical context; and then he led me into the discipline which you read me exercising here today … i.e., DAILY getting into God’s word, praying from God’s word, and journaling from God’s word to change my life.

 My guess is that you have certain disciplines which you carry out daily, … for example, … like brushing your teeth, fixing your hair, choosing your clothing, or maybe jogging or exercising; and you do these disciplines for specific, positive reasons. Well, as Question #3 in my test above asks, if you could take 30 minutes every day to take on a discipline which would give more strength/power to your Christian life, would you do it? …

 I hope so … because if you took 30 minutes using a good devotional tool, like Our Daily Bread; and you dug into God’s word, studying it and meditating on it; and then you wrote a paragraph (you don’t have to be as wordy as I am here!!), journaling what you feel God is saying to you, … doing this discipline DAILY for a year would transform you and give you more power for Christian living.

 But I guess you have to decide whether that doing that DAILY would be worth it for YOU. It sure was for me; and I’ll be here tomorrow - into God’s word and getting His truth into me. Come back for more! …

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, Jesus! … Thank You for the power of Your word to change 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, October 25, 2015

October 25, 2015:  Behind the Scenes

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 297  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of the Maranatha Singers singing, You Are My All In All , … declaring the reality of how we should see Christ in our lives - as our sovereign all in all.


Highlight Passage:   John 3: 30-31 [NKJV] …  
30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 
 …  John the Baptist moves behind the scenes to proclaim the preeminence of Christ.
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Highlight Context – John 3: 22-31 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  John the Baptist goes behind the scenes to exalt Christ
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Reference Passage #1 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] … 2
3 Then He [Jesus] said to them all [His followers], “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." 
… How we must see and follow Christ, elevating Him above all in our lives.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, reflects on something I’d bet we’ve all seen in our church, … i.e., those who are never out front - in the limelight - but are almost invisible behind-the-scenes servers, who are crucial to what goes on out there on center stage. It’s that way in the theater/movie business. It’s that way on Sunday morning in church. And it’s probably that way where you work.

 When Jesus came on the scene and entered into His three years of ministry on this earth, John the Baptizer was the “big deal” Jewish prophet of his day, … baptizing people far and wide by their repentance of sin and belief in the coming Messiah. But as we read in the Apostle John’s Gospel account (see John, Chapter 3), Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, realized and recognized that THE MESSIAH had come and that he, the Baptizer, must now go behind the scenes and put Jesus on stage as THE ONE, … their Messiah.

 Perhaps you know of someone who is one of those behind-the-scenes - but absolutely necessary - believers, who always put’s Jesus first and does anything he/she can to elevate Jesus to #1 in their life. Perhaps you are one of those people. If so … keep on keeping on … to elevate Christ to where He should be… #1… !! And let’s all do all we can to do what Jesus, Himself, said in Luke 9: 23, and be His behind-the-scenes disciples, following Him … exalting Him - no matter what it takes.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, Jesus! … You are my all-in-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.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

October 24, 2015:  A Season of Change

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 296  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Phillips, Craig, an Dean singing, He’ll Do Whatever It Takes , … declaring the reality of God’s desire to take us through whatever it takes for Him to provide us with the grace to be transformed into His image.

 
Highlight Passage:   Ecclesiastes 3: 1 [NKJV] …  
1 To everything there is a season, … a time for every purpose under heaven. 
…  Solomon … who had gone into a season dormancy of faith, comes out to declare God’s truth of such a time.
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Highlight Context – Exodus 2: 11-22 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
…  Moses goes dormant to the world for 40 years as a shepherd in the Midianite wilderness 
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 31: 8 [NKJV] … 
8 And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” 
… God was to take His people into dormancy for 40 years in the wilderness

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. 
… And sometimes those “things” take a long time.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Julie Ackerman Link, today’s ODB author, writes, …  [See attached photo]

There are times in our lives, sometimes long, seasons of dormancy, where we can’t seem to explain what is happening. It can be a reflection of the truth Solomon wrote about when he came out of many years of spiritual dormancy, where the so-called “wisest man on earth” was separated from fellowship with his Lord because of his pridefulness, arrogance, and selfishness. But Solomon discovered that God had taken him through that time of life for a reason; and he wrote about it in his journal which we know of as the Book of Ecclesiastes [see Eccles. 3: 1 above].

 And Moses was taken by God into an exile and transformation time as we read about in today’s highlight scripture (see Exodus 2: 11-22 linked above). And he came out of that time of spiritual dormancy a changed and prepared man for what was to lie ahead in God’s plan for his life. And finally after another 40 years of leading God’s people through their time of dormancy, Moses declares to Joshua [see Deut. 31:8], who would take God’s people into the Promised Land, that God was to go ahead of them and lead them into the land He had promised for His people.

 There are times in our lives - sometimes very LONG, often confusing, times - where we can’t see where God is leading us. But as the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8: 28 ALL THINGS, even times of extended drought or dormancy, are for the good of those of us who’ve surrendered to God’s purposes. The question is … have we truly surrendered and accepted those times of transformation? And can we wait for God to do His thing in making us over into His own image?

 I’ll leave those questions for us all to ponder today.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, Jesus! … Sometimes I don’t have a clue - but you always 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.

Friday, October 23, 2015

October 23, 2015: Just Give Me Jesus

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 295  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Fernando Ortega singing, Give Me Jesus, … declaring the reality of our life condition as Christians, needing Jesus and His grace to face this world.

 
Highlight Passage:   Isaiah 49: 13b [NKJV] …  
13b  For the Lord has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted. 
…  The Prophet declares God's comfort for His people. thru the Messiah.                
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Highlight Context – Isaiah 49: 13-20 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Jesus is always watching over His own … recognized by Isaiah 700+ years before He came into the world.
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Reference Passage #1 - Lamentations 3: 22-23 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK ... 
… Jeremiah longed for the forever mercies of his Messiah, … finally realized and fulfilled in Jesus.

Reference Passage #2 - Hebrews 13: 5b [NKJV] … 
5b  For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” [Deut. 31: 6 & Joshua 1: 5] … Even before Jesus (way before!) God’s elect recognized that their Messiah was ALWAYS with them and would never forsake them.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Marion Stroud, today’s ODB author, writes, … There is rarely a problem-free season in our lives, but sometimes the onslaught is terrifying. … Rose saw her entire family, except for her two little daughters, slaughtered in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. Now she is a widow among many widows with little money. But she refuses to be defeated. She has adopted two orphans and simply trusts God to provide for the food and school fees for her family of five. She translates Christian literature into the local language and organizes an annual conference for other widows. Rose wept as she told me her story. But for every problem in her life she has one simple remedy. “For this,” she said, “I have Jesus.” 

I think we all, as did the ODB author today, recognize that there are times when life is just WAY TOO MUCH, … when the only One we can turn to, as Christians, is the One Who came to save us all from ourselves; … and that is Jesus. Maybe today is a time like that for someone reading here with me today. We all have those times, don’t we?

 Well, now, at this stage in my life, when I am surrounded by such a time, I do what Fernando Ortega sings in the linked song above, … I turn to my Savior, … my everything in times of need, … JESUS!

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, Jesus! … You are my everything! … 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, October 22, 2015

October 22, 2015:  Praise: The Heart of Worship

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 294  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of the group Hillsong leading in worship and singing, Here I Am To Worship, … praising the living God in song.


Highlight Passage:   Psalm 145: 3, 18 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
…  David declares that praise is the essence of worship to God!
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Highlight Context – Psalm 145: 1-18 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  King David extols praise to God in worshipping the Lord.
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Reference Passage #1 - Psalms 16:11, 96:4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK …
... Praise brings us into the presence of God and brings the fullness of joy.

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. 
… Our most powerful praise to God is to become a living sacrifice, avoiding the world and living in His presence - for HIM!

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Dennis Fishser, today’s ODB author, writes, … Much of Scripture [as the Psalms above] calls for joyful gratitude and adoration of the living God. When we honor God, we celebrate Him as the Source from which all goodness flows. … When we praise God from our heart we find ourselves in that joyful state for which we were created. Just as a beautiful sunset or a peaceful pastoral scene points to the majesty of the Creator, so worship draws us into a close spiritual union with Him.

Do I really need to write any more? When you take in the photo image and the praise song, by Hillsong, depicted or linked here, where do you feel directed? Personally, I’m convicted to praise my Lord as the Apostle Paul exhorted believers, like me, in Romans 12: 1-2, by becoming more of a “living sacrifice,” and doing all I can to stay in His presence, avoiding the pitfalls of the world.

 What about you … today? … Will you join me in praising God with our lives?

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, Jesus! … Here I am to worship!! … 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, October 21, 2015

October 21, 2015:  Pride: Sin’s Core

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 293  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Nichole Nordeman singing, Finally Free, … declaring the truth that in Christ we can finally be free from our prideful and selfish sinfulness. Christ is the only answer to the core of our sin - PRIDE.

 
Highlight Passage:   Ezra 7: 6 [NKJV] …  
6 - this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him. 
…  God gave Ezra the discernment to see and grieve the sin of God’s people
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Highlight Context – Ezra 9: 1-9 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Ezra recognized that the pride of God’s people was at the heart their rebellion and sin. 
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Reference Passage #1 - Luke 1: 37 [NKJV] … 
37 For with God nothing will be impossible.” 
… Jesus said it to Mary … with God nothing is impossible - even overcoming the core of our sin nature - pride!

Reference Passage #2 - 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.
… Once crucified with Christ - in faith - I can be free of the core of my sinfulness - pride!

  My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson, today’s ODB author, tells a personal story to illustrate a core teaching about sin. He writes, … “He thinks he’s really something!” That was my friend’s assessment of a fellow Christian we knew. We thought we saw in him a spirit of pride. We were saddened when we learned that he soon was caught in some serious misdeeds. By elevating himself, he had found nothing but trouble. We realized that could happen to us as well. … It can be easy to minimize the terrible sin of pride in our own hearts. The more we learn and the more success we enjoy, the more likely we are to think we’re “really something.” Pride is at the core of our nature. 

Gustafson goes on to refer biblically to Ezra when he was given the opportunity to go back to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon to rebuild the Temple. And in that process Ezra recognized just how far the Israelites had fallen pray to their sin nature; and the grief of this Spirit-led soldier of God was great (see the highlight passage in Ezra 9). But Ezra also had faith in God’s willingness (and ability) to forgive and provide repentance by God’s people to their prideful sin.

And so do we have the ability - IN CHRIST - to repent of our core sin and be forgiven by the same God who can (and will) forgive His chosen people. In the New Covenant we now serve THE ONE Who came to save all mankind from the core of our sin nature - PRIDE. And as the truth is expressed by Luke (see Luke 1: 37) … nothing is impossible with God! And when we’re willing (and able) to surrender to Christ’s lordship and die to self, we can - and will - be free from our prideful nature. (Hear it in the song, sung by Nichole Nordeman linked above.)

I pray that all who read here with me are walking in that freedom.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, Jesus! … Thank You for setting me free from myself. … 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, October 20, 2015

October 20, 2015:  The Beauty Inside

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 292  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Morgan Cryar singing, What Sin?, … declaring the truth that God - somehow - never sees our sin once we confess, repent, and let Jesus take it all, covering it with His blood.


Highlight Passage:   1st Samuel 16: 7 [NKJV] …  
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 
…  David chosen as King because God sees His heart.
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Highlight Context – 1st Samuel 17: 1-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Samuel learns to look inside a man rather than at the outside appearance.
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Reference Passage #1 - 2nd Chronicles 6: 29-30 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK … God alone knows the hearts of His children.

Reference Passage #2 - 1st John 1: 9 [NKJV] … 
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. 
… Did you get that … ALL … unrighteousness!!

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, today’s ODB author, uses an artistic illustration for her teaching. She writes, … Retired physicist Arie van’t Riet creates works of art in an unusual way. He arranges plants and deceased animals in various compositions and then x-rays them. He scans the developed x-rays into a computer and then adds color to certain parts of his pictures. His artwork reveals the inner complexity of flowers, fish, birds, reptiles, and monkeys. … An inside view of something is often more fascinating and more significant than an exterior view. 

But in reality, only God can see the inside of our personhood; and often in doing so, He sees far more beauty or strength that we can see in others by looking at the outer physical qualities. That was certainly the case when God instructed Samuel to select the young shepherd, David, over David’s older brother, who had all the outer looks of a king (see today’s highlight passage from 1st Samuel linked above). God saw in David a “man after God’s own heart,” something Samuel or others certainly couldn’t see.

 When God looks into the hearts of man, as only He can (see 2nd Chronicles 6: 30), God can - and often does - see things that others can’t see … or even we can’t see in ourselves. That’s why God can reach down into the heart of a repentant sinner and see something of great value when that sinner can’t even see it in himself/herself.

 That was the case with me, when, years ago, I was deeply wrought in obsessive/compulsive sin. But God, with His perfect X-RAY vision (see the photo attached), saw some beauty in my soul that I was not able to see back then; and when I confessed and repented of my sin (see 1st John 1: 9), surrendering to Jesus as my Lord, as Morgan Cryar sings in his song, What Sin?, God forgave me and set me on a course to show what I had in myself which could/would glorify Him.

 And God can - and WILL - do that for anyone who has, as did David, a heart for our Lord.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, Jesus! … Thank You for seeing in me what I could give to others in 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.

Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19, 2015:  Waiting and Praying

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 291  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Chris Tomlin singing, Everlasting God, … declaring the truth of our strength growing in faith as we trust and wait on God to deal with those elements in our lives where we’re out of control.


Highlight Passage:   Psalm 9: 9-10 [NKJV] …  
9 The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, … a refuge in times of trouble. 10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You. 
…  We can always wait and trust in our God.
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Highlight Context – Psalm 9: 1-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  David declares his trust in a God Whom is always there for the faithful.
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 31: 6-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK ...
… Moses to Joshua after 40 years of wandering and waiting on God in the wilderness.

Reference Passage #2 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK ... 
… You know this one - I hope!! … Our willingness to wait on God is the measure of our trust in Him.

Reference Passage #2 - 1st Peter 5: 6-7 [NKJV] … 
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 
… When we can’t be in any degree of control, where do we take our life?

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, James Banks, the author of the Book, Prayers For Prodigals tells his own faith and waiting story to illustrate his teaching. He writes, … When our daughter was 15, she ran away. She was gone more than 3 weeks. Those were the longest 3 weeks of our lives. We looked everywhere for her and sought help from law enforcement and friends. During those desperate days, my wife and I learned the importance of waiting on God in prayer. We had come to the end of our strength and resources. We had to rely on God. … It was on a Father’s Day that we found her. We were in a restaurant parking lot, on our way to dinner, when the phone rang. A waitress at another restaurant had spotted her. Our daughter was only three blocks away. We soon had her home, safe and sound. 

Perhaps you can recall such an incident, as did the ODB author, when things had gotten to a place where, even tho you had done all you could, you just had to wait on God; and prayer was the only remaining battle strategy. David reflected on such a time in today’s highlight Scripture (linked and copied above in Psalm 9). And Moses was in such a place when he had led God’s people, wandering in the wilderness for over 40 years; and he had to charge Joshua to pray and take them into the Promised Land (see Deut. 31:6-8).

 There are just some times when trusting and waiting on God in prayer is the only viable battle strategy. Of course, doing all we can do is understood. But when things are beyond our control, which is most of the time, really, we need to just be proactive in our trust, going to our God in prayer and casting all our cares on God, Who totally cares for us [see 1st Peter 5:5-6].

 Common, … join me to pray - and wait - with such a prayer today.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, Jesus! … Take it, … handle it. And I wait on You. … Amen  

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

Sunday, October 18, 2015

October 18, 2015:  My King, Jesus!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 290  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of the group Hillsong leading worship by singing, Here I Am To Worship, … declaring what should be the attitude of all true Christians


Highlight Passage:   John 19: 19 [NKJV] …  
19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS 
…  Pilate didn’t believe it … but he had it right!
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Highlight Context – John 19: 13-24 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Pilate labels Jesus as “The King of the Jews”
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Reference Passage #1 - John 11:25, 14:6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK …
...  Jesus, … His own proclamation on His kingship and Whom we must come to worship.

Reference Passage #2 - Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK ...
… Paul exhorts us all to what should be our living sacrifice in worship of our King, Jesus.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, uses the crowning and burial place of English Regents to illustrate his teaching. He wrote, … Westminster Abbey in London has a rich historical background. In the 10th century, Benedictine monks began a tradition of daily worship there that still continues today. The Abbey is also the burial place of many famous people, and every English monarch since ad 1066 has been crowned at the Abbey. In fact, 17 of those monarchs are also buried there—their rule ending where it began. ... [But] ... No matter how grandiose their burial, world rulers rise and fall; they live and die. But another king, Jesus, though once dead, is no longer buried. In His first coming, Jesus was crowned with thorns and crucified as the “king of the Jews” (see John 19 above). Because Jesus rose from the dead in victory, we who are believers in Christ have hope beyond the grave and the assurance that we will live with Him forever. 

Prior to His crucifixion, God’s people, the Jews, had wanted to crown Jesus as their Messiah on the Sunday before these same people, just a few days later, cried for Him to be crucified. And Pilate finally put our Lord on the Cross, mocking His claims to Kingship by labeling this GodMan, with a sign which read Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews. And after His death on a cross and burial, King Jesus proved His regency over mankind by being raised from the dead … unlike all kings that had come before Him and would reign over earthly kingdoms later, … like those over England who are buried in Westminster Abbey.

 For those of us who’ve surrendered our lives, temporally and eternally, to King Jesus, the fact that our King cannot be found in any grave is our hope that we will one day be with Him in glory. So, the question today for any/all who are reading here is … IS JESUS OUR KING?!

 Because if He is, we’ll do what Paul declared boldly to Christians in Romans 12: 1-2; and we’ll do what the group Hillsong sings in today’s worshipful song. We will come and worship our King, Jesus, by living our lives as living sacrifices for our King.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, Jesus! … You are my King; and I’m here today and everyday to worship you with my living sacrifice. … 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, October 17, 2015

October 17, 2015:  Rugged Road Ahead

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 289  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Paul McCartney singing the Beatles classic, The Long and Winding Road, … with a spiritual double entendre about taking the long and winding road to the love of our lives … which for Christians is to heaven and Christ.


Highlight Passage:   Psalm 25: 8-9 [NKJV] …  
8 Good and upright is the Lord; therefore, He teaches sinners in the way. 9 The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way. 
…  David knew that his humility was the key to finding God’s path in life.
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Highlight Context – Psalm 25: 4-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
…  David knew that finding and staying on God’s path in life was THE WAY to go.
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Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  ...
… David’s son had learned the lesson of trusting God being the key to staying the Lord’s narrow - and winding - road.

Reference Passage #2 - Jeremiah 6: 16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK …
... God, thru the Prophet, relays His map for peaceful living … but so often God’s people refused to take it.

Reference Passage #3 - Romans 8: 28 [NKJV] … 
28 All things work together for the good for those who love God and are the called according to His purposes. 
… Paul wrote about how the road may seem rough at times; but God only takes His loved ones down His road to lead to good things - His things.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David Roper, told a personal story to illustrate his teaching. He wrote, … A fishing buddy of mine told me about an alpine lake located high on the north flank of Jughandle Mountain here in Idaho. Rumor had it that large cutthroat trout lurked up there. … His map put me on one of the worst roads I’ve ever driven! It was an old logging road that had been bulldozed through the forest and never regraded. Washouts, fallen timber, deep ruts, and large rocks battered my spine and bent the undercarriage of my truck. It took half a morning to reach my destination, and when I finally arrived I asked myself, “Why would a friend send me up a road like this?” … But the lake was magnificent and the fish were indeed large and scrappy! My friend had put me on the right road—one I would have chosen myself and patiently endured had I known what I knew at the end. 

Perhaps a reader here, as have I, has experienced the reality that God often leads us down a rough, and often rugged, road to get to the places where His purposes play out for us in life. Thats the truth of the Old Testament (see Jer. 6: 16) and the New (see Rom. 8: 28). And so many times it’s difficult for us to see what David sang about in his Psalm 25: 4-10, where God leads His humble and obedient followers down rough roads to lead His people in His way.

 I don’t think I need to go on with more persuasion than can be found above, do I? No, our task is to take the narrow, often rough, road, leading to our final destination … to be with Jesus forever.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … I follow You, no matter where the road may lead. … 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, October 16, 2015

October 16, 2015:  Open Hands

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 288  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Matt Papa singing, Open Hands, … declaring how all Christians would live … to give our love to others with open hands … just as Christ lived (and died) for us.


Highlight Passage:   Matthew 6:19-21 [NKJV] …  
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 
…  Jesus lays out how/why giving with open hearts/hands is key to laying hold of heavenly treasure. 
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Highlight Context – Matthew 6: 19-24 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Jesus' sermon on giving as a reflection of kingdom living.    
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Reference Passage #1 - Luke 12: 16-21 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK …
... Jesus' parable on living/giving …

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, lays out a truth all Christians find challenging, but must live out; and that is learning to give with open hands (see attached photo). Darmani writes, … In our imperfect world, loss of material wealth is all too common—vehicles are stolen or crashed, ships sink, buildings crumble, homes are flooded, and personal belongings are stolen. This makes Jesus’ admonition not to put our trust in earthly wealth very meaningful (Matt. 6:19). Nothing lasts forever—except what our God enables us to do for others. 

I think if any co-reader with me here today takes in the attached photo, the linked song by Matt Papa, and Christ’s teachings from His sermons, … your conviction will be as clear as mine … to do more in this life to give out the love of God, in time, talents, and treasures, to others with open hands, … living and giving, as the forever life with Christ will be in heaven.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … Help me to give more of You with open hands 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.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

October 15, 2015:  God’s Way

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 287  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Big Daddy Weave singing a contemporary arrangement of the old hymn, Trust and Obey, … declaring that God’s way is the only way for us to trust and obey … and follow!


Highlight Passage:   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 make your paths straight. 
…  Following God’s way - ALWAYS the best way.
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Highlight Context – Proverbs 3: 1-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Solomon’s take on allowing God to give us wisdom by following HIS course in life. 
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Reference Passage #1 - 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. 
… Paul knew that our only hope was found in Christ; and so he taught Timothy.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David C McCasland, relates a story about in incident in the life of Oswald Chambers. Kilgore writes … A century ago, 41-year-old Oswald Chambers arrived in Egypt to serve as a YMCA chaplain to British Commonwealth troops during World War I. He was assigned to a camp at Zeitoun, six miles north of Cairo. On his first night there, October 27, 1915, Chambers wrote in his diary, “This [area] is absolutely desert in the very heart of the troops and a glorious opportunity for men. It is all immensely unlike anything I have been used to, and I am watching with interest the new things God will do and engineer.”

Chambers, having been led in his life to this desert place, yet trusting God had him just where the Lord needed for him to be, and believing totally in the truth of Prov. 3: 5,6 (see text above, which I hope you know by heart), was excited to see what God was going to do in that place and in that time - for God’s glory. And yes, that holds true for me (and you) … even today.

 So, as Big Daddy Weave sings in the linked song above, we must simply (and sometimes challengingly) TRUST AND OBEY God in where He has brought us … so that we can live in surrender to His will and for His glory.

 Yes, even today!!!

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … I trust where you have me is for my good and 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, October 14, 2015

October 14, 2015:  All Is Well!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 286  

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, … where they express the truth that our hope of life, now and eternally, is found ONLY in the reign of King Jesus.



Highlight Passage:   Hebrews 11: 1 [NKJV] …  
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 
…  Jesus - our only hope!!
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Highlight Context – Hebrews, Chapter 11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  The Author of Hebrews honors all those faithful to Christ under the Old Covenant who held onto their faith in the Messiah, many withstanding great trials in the process of their faithfulness. 
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Reference Passage #1 - Galatians 5: 5 [NKJV] … 
5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 
… Our hope of heaven - only in our faith in Christ.

Reference Passage #2 - 1st Timothy 1: 1 [NKJV] … 
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, 
… Paul knew that our only hope was found in Christ; and so he taught Timothy.

Reference Passage #3 - 1st Peter 1: 3-5 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Peter knew that our heavenly inheritance could only come through our faith in Christ.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Randy Kilgore, relates a teaching story of the hope some explorers placed in their leader. Kilgore writes … In January 1915, the ship Endurance was trapped and crushed in the ice off the coast of Antarctica. The group of polar explorers, led by Ernest Shackleton, survived and managed to reach Elephant Island in three small lifeboats. Trapped on this uninhabited island, far from normal shipping lanes, they had one hope. On April 24, 1916, 22 men watched as Shackleton and five comrades set out in a tiny lifeboat for South Georgia, an island 800 miles away. The odds seemed impossible, and if they failed, they would all certainly die. What joy, then, when more than four months later a boat appeared on the horizon with Shackleton on its bow shouting, “Are you all well?” And the call came back, “All safe! All well!” 

And the story is illustrative of the teachings of the Scriptures related above … that our only hope of glory is found, as the photo illustrates, in JESUS! Paul recognized and exhorted this truth (see Gal. 5:5 or 1st Tim. 1:1 above). And Peter strongly declared it to persecuted Christians (see 1st Peter 1: 3-5 linked above). The question for me (and you) today is … DO WE REALLY BELIEVE this truth!!

Because if we, as Christians do believe these truths, we won’t - nay, we can’t - let ourselves get wrapped up in doubt or despair. Our hope is in Christ; and His grace is enough to sustain us through any malady or storm (see 2nd Cor. 12: 9 if you need Jesus’ words on this). His promises and His power are enough to sustain us. … So, in faith, we move onward, holding to the hope we have in Christ.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, my Lord, … You are my hope, dear Jesus … my only hope!! … 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, October 13, 2015

October 13, 2015:  Vision Quest

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 285

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Daniel O’Donnell singing Here I Am Lord, … we seek for God’s meaning in life - our “vision quest,” and when we receive it, we must God in His Name and for His purpose.


Highlight Passage:   Exodus 3: 14 [NKJV] …
14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 
…  Going forth with God’s calling.
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Highlight Context – Exodus 3: 1-6, 10-14 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  Moses comes to the end of his “vision quest” and God gives him his calling
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Reference Passage #1 - 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.” 
 … Jesus’ call, from the “vision quest” of salvation to be His witnesses.

Reference Passage #2 - Matthew 28: 19-20 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s GREAT COMMISSION calling on all Christians

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David Egner, relates a story of a young native american boy from what his people call a “vision quest,” where the boy, becoming a man, goes into nature and listens for the call of “The Great Spirit.” And Egner relates one such story, telling of … a young boy who was sent into the woods alone on an autumn night to prove his courage. Soon the sky darkened and the sounds of night filled the air. Trees creaked and groaned, an owl screeched, and a coyote howled. Even though he was frightened, the boy remained in the woods all night, as the test of courage required. Finally morning came, and he saw a solitary figure nearby. It was his grandfather, who had been watching over him all night long. 

And then the ODB entry relates such a “vision quest” which occurred in the highlight passage in Exodus, Chapter 3 (linked above) where Moses, having been raised for greatness as an Egyptian prince, is sent by God’s leading into the wilderness as a shepherd and finally hears God’s calling at the burning bush. And though Moses feels inadequate to the call, like the Native American story, Moses realizes that His heavenly Father will be watching over him every step of the way in God’s calling. My mentor used to say to me, “God’s calling is His enablement.”

 I know when I felt called to co-found and lead in the ministry calling on my life by God’s Spirit, i.e., Battle Plan Ministry (USE THIS LINK), I was encouraged and supported by God through the Elders in my church; and though I did feel inadequate, I knew the charge of Acts 1: 8 and Matthew 28: 19-20, God’s great charge/commission to all Christians. So, as Daniel O’Donnell sings in the linked song today, I responded to my “vision quest,” by saying, “Here I am, Lord!!” I

 don’t know what God’s calling will be for you; but when He calls, … GO!! … in His Name and for His glory.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, … Help me to fulfill your vision question … in Your Name and 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.

Monday, October 12, 2015

October 12, 2015:  What, Me Worry?

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 284  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing All Is Well, … declaring the reality that, in Christ, our lives are in His hands … so all is well!!


Highlight Passage:   Isaiah 40: 29 [NKJV] …  
28 Have you not known? … Have you not heard? … The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints, nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 
…  No reason to doubt or worry. God is in control.
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Highlight Context – Isaiah 40: 25-31 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
…  With God in control, … why worry?
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Reference Passage #1 - Psalm 55: 22 [NKJV] … 
22  Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; … He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. 
… God is always there to hold us up.

Reference Passage #2 - Matthew 6: 25-31 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus, on worry-free living.

Reference Passage #3 - Philippians 4: 6-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle Paul on casting anxiety aside for God’s peace.

Reference Passage #4 - 1st Peter 5: 7 [NKJV] … 
22  Casting all your cares on Him, because He cares for you. 
… If we really believe Peter there’s no need to worry.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Poh Fang Chia, reminded me in his ODB teaching of an image out of the mid-50s from a post WW2 magazine, … Mad Magazine, which had a recurring cartoon character on its cover. The image was of the irrepressible Alfred E Newman, whose editor described him as a worry-free, almost impish character; and, as in the attached image, the phrase, “What, me worry?!” was almost always on the cover right below or above Newman’s portrait.

 But do we get it [?]; … that we Christians can - and should - be able to hold an attitude much like Alfred E Newman. But unfortunately many of us all too often hold onto an anti-Alfred attitude, … worrying about so many things when the reality of our lives - in Christ - is completely covered by a God Who’s totally in control and is always there to protect and lift up those who obediently believe in Him. Please take the time to meditate deeply on the truth in God’s word linked/copied above.

 And, I don’t know about you, but I’m duly convicted and challenged today to become more like Alfred E and live in the truths expressed in God’s word above. … Why worry?!!

 Today, … Let’s just trust God and let Him take our worries.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, … What, me worry?!! … Not 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, October 11, 2015

October 11, 2015:  Checkup for Change

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 283  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Gordon Mote singing Don’t Let Me Miss the Glory, … declaring the prayer of all Christians to live surrounded by God’s glory in His grace.


Highlight Passage:   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. 
…  Setting our minds and hearts as to Christlikeness.
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Highlight Context – Colossians 3: 1-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
…  Checking our lives to put off selfishness and to put on the “Savoriness”
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Reference Passage #1 - Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Mark 12:30 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s teaching, through Moses and Christ; … and God’s charge from His word to stay healthy and not miss His glory by our selfishness.

Reference Passage #2 - 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. 
 … Paul’s exhortation to Christians to examine ourselves to see if we’re walking in the faith.

Reference Passage #3 - Ephesians 4: 1-3 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s teaching, through Paul, on striving to stay in fellowship with our Lord and walk in worthiness to our calling as Christians.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Julie Ackerman Link, reminded me today that all Christians should take a “check-up from the neck up” occasionally to see if we are walking worthy of our calling as “Christians.” (see Paul’s calling in Ephesians 4: 1-3) And the Apostle Paul also exhorted us, as Christians, to examine our walk of faith occasionally (see 2Cor. 13: 5) so that, as Gordon Mote sings (linked above), we don’t miss God’s glory in this life.

Today in the ODB teaching, the author, Julie Link, leads her readers (me) to ask/answer several questions from Jesus restatement from the Old Testament to the Scribes and Pharisees [see Mark 12: 30]; and they are these [in conjunction with today’s ODB highlight passage from Colossians, Chapter 3].
Do I love God with all my soul? Do I listen to God telling me who I am? Am I moving away from self-centered desires? (Col 3: 5). Am I becoming more compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient? (Col 3: 12). 
Do I love God with all my mind? Do I focus on my relationship with His Son or do I let my mind wander wherever it wants to go? (Col 3: 2). Do my thoughts lead to problems or solutions? To unity or division? Forgiveness or revenge? (Col 3: 13). 
Do I love God with all my strength? Am I willing to be seen as weak so that God can show His strength on my behalf? (Col. 3: 17). Am I relying on His grace to be strong in His Spirit? 

 I’ll leave it to you to deal, as I am today, with these challenges from God’s word? I’m certainly convicted by this spiritual checkup this morning. … How about you?

My Prayer Today:  Oh, … Help me to open myself to Your grace and glory by staying healthy in the Spirit. … 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.