Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015: I’m In His Book!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 333

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of the group THIRD DAY singing the classic hymn … Blessed Assurance, which declares the assurance we have of our names being written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.


Highlight Passage:   Luke 10: 20 [NKJV] …
20 … “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this [i.e., earthly success], that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” 
… What’s really important in this life … that our names are in God’s book of life for the next lift. 
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Highlight Context – Luke 10: 17-24 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… Jesus puts things in heavenly perspective for His Disciples.
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Reference Passage #1 - John 3: 5, 16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus’ declaration of the most important thing in this life … that we enter the next.

Reference Passage #2 - Romans 10: 9-13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul declares God’s truth on what it takes to be written into God’s Book of Life.

Reference Passage #3 - 2nd Tim. 3: 16-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…The truth that ALL SCRIPTURE is inspired by God!!

Reference Passage #4 - 1st John, Chapter 1-5 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… John’s letter to make sure that any Christian would KNOW that he/she is saved.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, teaches on one of the most important lessons in all of the New Testament … i.e., that any and all who believe in God and desire to be with Him in heaven must be written in God’s “Book of Life.”

 Today’s ODB author writes about the incident in Luke, Chapter 10, where Jesus receives His Disciples back from a short mission trip where His followers had encountered great spiritual successes; and Jesus puts things in perspective for them (see Luke 10:20), telling them that they should focus mostly on whether they live as if to show that their names are “written in heaven.”

 My friend, … is your name written in God’s Book of Life, … written before the foundations of time? The Apostle John wrote a letter to help Christians KNOW that our names, as Christians, are in that book. You can use the link above to read that letter [see the link above to read 1st John]; but John declared his purpose in helping Christians to have assurance in their salvation in 1st John 5:13. I’ll leave it to you, if you have any doubts of your salvation, to study that letter.

 But those of us who believe in the truth of Scripture (see 2nd Timothy 3: 16), can KNOW that we are saved and our names are in God’s Book of Life. Let me ask any reader here four questions to help you know if your name is in God’s Book.

Here’re my questions: 
1.  Do you believe, in the depths of your heart, that the Bible is ALL truth? … YES OR NO
2.  Do you recognize and acknowledge that you are a sinner? … YES or NO 
3.  Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins? … YES or NO 
4.  Are you thankful that Jesus is your LORD AND SAVIOR? … YES or NO

Here’s God’s deal (based on His truth in Romans 10:9-13 - see above): … If you answered (and honestly declared to me) “YES” on all four of those questions, … YOU ARE SAVED ... and your name is in God’s book of life. But if you answer “NO” to any of those questions [or were thinking “I think so”], I would exhort you to contact me via my email (use billb13@bellsouth.net) and let me discuss the matter with you.

 Enough said for today!!

My Prayer Today:  Oh, dear Lord, … Thank You for letting me KNOW that my name is in Your Book. … 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, November 29, 2015

November 29, 2015: Our Good Shepherd

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 332  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Marty Goetz singing the classic psalm… Psalm 23, which declares David’s faith in his God, Who would be his Good Shepherd … FOREVER.

 
Highlight Passage:   Psalm 40:17 [NKJV] …  
17 But I am poor and needy; … yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my delliverer; … do not delay, O my God. 
… David’s cry for help in time of despair.
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Highlight Context – Psalm 40 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… King David’s cry for help to his God in a very low time in his life.
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Reference Passage #1 - Job 42: 1-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Job, after looking back on all he had been through and repenting for his lack of faith, he awaits God’s restoration.

Reference Passage #2 - Psalm 23: 4 [NKJV] … 
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; … Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 
… Again, the Apostle Paul, inspired by God, exhorting God’s family to examine ourselves to see if our faith is genuine.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David C McCasland, had a lesson into which we can all identify and should remember, … especially when we, as it says in the worlds of David in Psalm 23, are walking in the valley of the shadow of death (see attached photo). And to illustrate his teaching, the ODB author pointed to the life of C.S. Lewis, who, along with Lewis’ brother, always looked back on their times in boarding school, where they both experienced an abusive head master. And looking back on such a bleak time later in life, the reflection helped them see how faithful and merciful God had been in their life.

 That illustration caused me to reflect on the life of Corrie ten Boom, who had experienced horror and seen her sister die in the concentration camps of WW2; and she came to realize how her faith God had grown in her life after being in that valley. And we have the classic biblical tale of deprivation and redemption in the Job’s scriptural journal, where God allowed Job to walk through all that he went through to allow Job to ultimately look back and see God’s work of restoration in His life (see Job’s realization and repentance in Job 42: 1-6). And also there is the highlight passage, linked above, from Psalm 40 where David in a moment of terror, cries out in faith for his God to save him. 

We’ve likely all had our own “valley of the shadow of death” in our life, haven’t we? And I hope that you, as I can, see how the Good Shepherd was always there to bring us through, walking with us and leading us ultimately to His pasture in glory.

 Please take time to use the song link above and hear Mary Goetz sing the comforting and uplifting Paslm of David, which will help you see that our Lord is walking with us today … and always.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, dear Lord, … You have led me through the valley and You walk with me today … and tomorrow. … 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, November 28, 2015

November 28, 2015: Looking Inward

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 331  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Queen Latifah singing the song… Fix Me Jesus, from the movie Joyful Noise, imploring God to fix our inner selves and make us over into His image.

 
Highlight Passage:   1st Corinthians 11: 28-29 [NKJV] …  
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 
… Looking inward before taking the Lord’s Supper.
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Highlight Context – 1st Corinthians 11: 23-34 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… God’s instructions, thru Paul’s exhortation, to examine ourselves inwardly before taking the Lord’s Supper, discerning whether the believer is worthy to participate in the sacred ordinance. 
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Reference Passage #1 - Matthew 5:1-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus, exhorting His followers in His “Beattitudes” to look inward to see if they are worthy of His Kingdom.

Reference Passage #2 - 2nd Corinthians 13:5 [NKJV] … 
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. 
… Again, the Apostle Paul, inspired by God, exhorting God’s family to examine ourselves to see if our faith is genuine.

Reference Passage #3 - Galatians 5: 16-23 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Another of Paul’s exhortation to look at our attitudes and choices to see if we’re walking in the Spirit … or the flesh.

Reference Passage #4 - Ephesians 4: 1-3 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… So, looking inward, are we worthy of the calling of Christ upon our lives.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Julie Ackerman Link, instructed her readers (me) to look deeply at ourselves to discern the worthiness of how we walk in Christ. She wrote of mankind throughout history, using various devices , such as puddles of water, polished metal, mirrors, photographs, and, most recently digital “selfies,” to look at our outward appearance. 

However, the author also wrote, We now have lasting images of ourselves from any given time throughout our entire life. This is good for making scrapbooks and keeping family histories, but it can be detrimental to our spiritual well-being. The fun of seeing ourselves on camera can keep us focused on outward appearance and leave us with little interest in examining our inner selves. … Self-examination is crucial for a healthy spiritual life. God wants us to see ourselves so that we can be spared the consequences of sinful choices. 

The Apostle Paul felt that discerning our true-self, i.e., looking inward to see who we really are in our relationship with Christ (see the reference Scriptures cited above), was critical, and he wrote often about examining the real self to see whether we were walking in the Spirit or the flesh [see the reference passages above]. And God, through Paul, felt this was really critical when we took the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of what Christ did for us on the cross (see the 1st Corinthians 11 passage linked above).

 When we’re honoring our Lord at His table, we are to look deeply and honestly into our hearts to see if we are walking in the Spirit as Christians. Because if we are not, we should confess our sins and be cleansed by God’s Spirit (on your own see 1st John 1: 9, which I hope you know by heart). I’m doing that inventory of my inner self … right now.

How about you? 

My Prayer Today:  Oh, dear Lord, … Help me look deeply, and honestly, at my inner self to be worthy of Your calling on 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.

Friday, November 27, 2015

November 27, 2015:  Free To Be Me in Christ 

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 330  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a video of Nichole Nordeman singing her song … Finally Free, … declaring the reality of our transformation and freedom in Christ.


Highlight Passage:   Jeremiah 17: 9-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Beware our self-conning, deceitful hearts!!!
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Highlight Context – Jeremiah 17:7-13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… From God’s Prophet … the nature of man to go inward, rather than outward/upward, for help. 
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Reference Passage #1 - Romans 8:11 [NKJV] … 
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 
 … Having been indwelled by the Holy Spirit upon conversion, we now have the power of Christ to surrender to His Spirit and overcome self, relying upon the empowering grace of God to set us free from sin choices.

Reference Passage #2 - 2nd Corinthians 4:3-4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… The lost simply cannot yield self to Savior.

Reference Passage #3 - 2nd Corinthians 5:17 [NKJV] … 
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 
 … No longer locked up in self … free to be the new me in Christ.

Reference Passage #4 - 1st John 3: 20 [NKJV] … 
20 God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. 
 … Easy to forget, isn’t it, … especially when we’re in trouble?

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, used a personal story to illustrate how many, even Christians, can allow themselves to be imprisoned within their own deceitful hearts. The author wrote, On a business trip, my husband had just settled into his hotel room when he heard an unusual noise. He stepped into the hall to investigate and heard someone yelling from a nearby room. With the help of a hotel worker, he discovered that a man had become trapped in the bathroom. The lock on the bathroom door had malfunctioned and the man trapped inside started to panic. He felt like he couldn’t breathe and began yelling for help. … Sometimes in life we feel trapped. We are banging on the door, pulling on the handle, but we can’t get free. We need help from the outside, just like the man in the hotel. 

And then our ODB author gave her readers (me) an encouraging message, reminding any Christian that, IN CHRIST, we don’t have to be a victim of our own human frailties and fears. She did this by referring back to Jeremiah, who prophesied about the condition of the human heart (see the highlight passages above).

 No, as expressed in the truth of the reference passages (above), we can (and should) walk free from the imprisonment of self … and seek outside help, … the surrender to the empowering grace of God’s Spirit, dwelling in the newness of Christ in our hearts as born-again believers, … allowing us to be “Finally Free,” as Nichole Nordeman sings in the linked song for today.

 How about it, friend? Let’s not be locked up by our human fears and weakness. Let’s walk in freedom today with Christ!!

My Prayer Today:  Oh, dear Lord, … I am truly free to walk in Your grace today. AND I WILL!! … 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, November 26, 2015

November 26, 2015: Thankful Hearts ??

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 329  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of a group of children singing the Thanksgiving Day classic … We Gather Together, … declaring our thankfulness to God for all He provides and all He is.


Highlight Passage:   Psalm 118: 1 [NKJV] …  
1 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 
… So much for Whom to be thankful in the everlasting mercy extended by our God.
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Highlight Context – Psalm 118:1-14 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… The psalmist, with a thankful heart, sings praise for God’s everlasting mercy.
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Reference Passage #1 - Philippians 4: 6 [NKJV] … 
5 Be anxious for nothing, but IN EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, WITH THANKSGIVING, let your requests be known to God. 
… Heart-filled thanksgiving in all we bring to God.

Reference Passage #2 - 1st Thessalonians 5: 16-18 [NKJV] … 
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 
 … God, thru Paul, exhorts all Christians to give thanks IN EVERYTHING.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Joe Stowell, used a personal story about his kids to illustrate that good manners and thankfulness don’t come naturally. He wrote, When our kids were young, one of them bluntly said “no” when we passed him some peas for dinner. To which we replied, “No what?” We hoped he would say, “No, thank you.” Instead he said, “No peas!” That led to a discussion about the importance of good manners. In fact, we had similar discussions on numerous occasions.  

Dear one, if you’ve had kids or grandkids, or been around little ones at all, you’ve seen that having a grateful/thankful heart does not come without learning … a logt of learning! In other words, thankfulness is not natural. … NO, what is natural is selfishness. What’s good for ME FIRST is the natural state. … What’s good for others may come easier for Christians, but with our sin nature to overcome, being thankful is still an act of will. And most certainly, having the Holy Spirit to help us will allow a Christian to be more tuned in to Christlikeness, of which a thankful heart becomes our goal (as Paul exhorted for all Christians in Phil. 4: 6 and 1st Thes. 5: 18); but it’s still not easy to fulfill shine Christ’s light with a thankful heart - ALWAYS.

 On the calendar today we’re going to be celebrating THANKSGIVING. So, at least today, and prayerfully into the future, let’s choose (because, as Christians, we can) to surrender to God’s Spirit and His empowering grace to have a thankful heart in all we think, say, and do.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, dear Lord, … Thank 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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

November 25, 2015: God’s Nearness

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 328  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of the group Third Day singing … Blessed Assurance, … declaring God’s promise that we can be assured that our Lord will be with us FOREVER with His Spirit residing in our heart as Christians.


Highlight Passage:   John 14: 16 [NKJV] …  
16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 
… Jesus’ promise of the “paraklete” to be our comforter when He is back on His throne. 
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Highlight Context – John 14: 15-21 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… As Jesus was relating his impending death to His disciples at the “last supper,” He tries to give them His promise of the coming “comforter” to quell their separation anxiety.
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 Reference Passage #1 - Psalm 37: 4, 34 [NKJV] … 
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. … 34 Wait on the Lord and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land … 
… Solomon declares the antidote for disappointment and discouragement … and that is trusting in and waiting on the Lord.

Reference Passage #2 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … 
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. 6 Acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. 
… Anxious? … Discouraged? … Well, God’s prescription is to take a big dose of trust and patience with His Spirit in our hearts to quell our fears.

Reference Passage #3 - John 16: 33 [NKJV] … 
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 
 … Jesus speaks peace to His disciples who were terribly discouraged over what He was telling them the night before His trek to the cross; and His promises of His Spirit extend to believers today.

Reference Passage #4 - 1st Corinthians 10:13 [NKJV] … 
13 No temptation (trial, test, or tribulation) has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 
… God promises to be with His faithful in the midst of any/all discouraging trials.

Reference Passage #5 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 9 [NKJV] … 
9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 
… Jesus’ promise to Paul [and to all Christians] of His ever sufficient grace to deal with the fears and pains of life.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Keila Ochoa, reminded her readers (me) today of experiencing the separation anxiety of a young child (as in the attached photo) when he/she feels that mama is going away. Any parent or grandparent reading here has likely seen that fear in their little ones.

 Well, Jesus’ inner disciples experienced that kind of separation anxiety in the upper room the night before Jesus was led away to the cross. Here was THE ONE Whom they desired to be their Messiah saying that He would have to leave them … to die; … and the anxiety, even a strong believer like Peter, had to be manifest that night.

 But Jesus promised to these believers (and to us now, as Christians) that He would send a “comforter,” … i.e., His Spirit … to reside in their/our hearts to give us the grace we need to deal with anxious or threatening situations. Most certainly we tend to have fear/anxieties when we’re confronted with threatening circumstances. For sure such are all around us in the world today. But when we can surrender our fears to our loving Lord, He will give us His ever sufficient grace to deal with those threats.

 Please meditate on all the Scriptures above, many repeated from my blog yesterday; and go forth with God’s Spirit in our hears, and God’s promises from His word, to lift us up and quell our fears and anxiety. Certainly the promise sung by Third Day (linked above) should help us move forward to become our story as well today.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, dear Lord, … You are our Blessed Assurance; and You are all we need. … 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, November 24, 2015

November 24, 2015: Disappointment

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 327  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of steve Greeen… Find Us Faithful, … declaring the trek of all Christians to overcome the disappointments of this world with our faithful following of Christ.


Highlight Passage:   Genesis 29: 25 [NKJV] …  
25 So it came to pass in the morning, that behold, it was Leah. And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?” 
… Jacob’s disappointment was great when Jacob discovered Laban’s deception.
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Highlight Context – Genesis 29: 14-30 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …    … Jacob waits seven years for Rachel to be his wife and her father, Laban, deceives Jacob and gives him Laban’s second daughter, Leah
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Reference Passage #1 - Psalm 37: 4, 34 [NKJV] … 
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. 
 …  34 Wait on the Lord and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land … 
… Solomon declares the antidote for disappointment and discouragement … and that is trusting in and waiting on the Lord.

Reference Passage #2 - Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … 
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. 6 Acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. 
… Disappointed? … Discouraged? … God’s prescription … take a big dose of trust and patience in His loving kindness and mercy and come back for another day.

Reference Passage #3 - John 16: 33 [NKJV] … 
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 
 … Jesus speaks peace to His disciples who were terribly discouraged over what He was telling them the night before His trek to the cross.

Reference Passage #4 - 1st Corinthians 10:13 [NKJV] … 
13 No temptation (trial, test, or tribulation) has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 
… God promises to be with the faithful in the midst of any/all discouraging trials.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson, brought a message this morning about a universal given; and that is that our lives will encounter disappointment and discouragement, even as Christians, as we live in this life and prepare for the next. Jesus even promised as much the night before the cross when His disciples were so disappointed and discouraged to hear Him talking about dying the next day [see John 16: 33]. But Jesus tried to lift them up by declaring that He had overcome the world and in that truth, they should have faith; and yes, even peace.

 And in today’s ODB entry, Tim Gustafson uses the story of Jacob’s disappointment at the hands of his betrothed, Rachel, whose father, Laban, had promised marriage if Jacob served him in indentured slavery for seven years. And you can read the story in the highlight passage from Genesis 29 above. 

After a seven year wait of service to Laban, Rachel’s father deceives Jacob and sends in his #2 daughter, Leah, to lay with Jacob on the wedding night. … BUMMER!!! And even through his disappointment, Jacob agrees to take both daughters as his wife; and we know from history that our Lord, Jesus, came from the line of Leah. So, Jacob’s willingness to trust God and deal with his initial disappointment, … his faithfulness in God, as Steve Green sings in the song linked above, … ultimately yielded the Savior of mankind.

 We all are going to face disappointments and discouragements, aren’t we? The question is not WILL WE, but rather WHAT WILL BE our response. I’m praying today that when I face the challenges of life, maybe even today, I will do so trusting that my God will lead me through it, as both Proverbs 3: 5-6 and 1st Cor. 10: 13 promise. So, … will we trust God and be patient to let Him guide us through the challenges?

My Prayer Today:  Oh, dear Lord, … As I face today, be with me, guide me, and lead me through any disappointments or discouragement I may face. … 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, November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015: Quiet!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 326  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of the group Simon and Garfuinkel, singing Paul Simon’s 1964 song… The Sound of Silence, … in which, at one point Simon writes … “10,000, maybe more, … people talking without speaking, … people hearing without listening,” … which is certainly a reality in the world, isn’t it?


Highlight Passage:   Proverbs 10: 19 [NKJV] …  
19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. 
… Our Lord loves it when we really give our utmost … our first fruit of worship … for His sake. Pretty clear, hun?
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Highlight Context – Proverbs 10:19-21 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… Solomon wrote that there was much wisdom in selective silence …
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Reference Passage #1 - Proverbs 15:1-4, 16:27-28, 18:7-8, 21:23 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Solomon, after God gave him more wisdom than any man of his day wrote much about about the dangers of a loose tongue

Reference Passage #2 - Ephesians 4: 29 [NKJV] … 
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 
… Breaking the silence with speech should only take place to lift up and/or give grace to the hearer.

Reference Passage #3 - James 3: 1-11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus’ brother on the challenge of taming the tongue.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David Roper, took me back to my college days in the wild and crazy times of the 60s and made reference to the linked song above, sung by Simon and Garfunkel, where they decried how so many were “talking without speaking” and “hearing without listening.”

 Roper wrote: I’m reminded of the line in the old Simon and Garfunkel song “Sounds of Silence” about folks hearing without listening. Oh, they hear the words, but they fail to silence their own thoughts and truly listen. It would be good if we all learned to be silent and still. … There is “a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Eccl. 3:7). Good silence is a listening silence, a humble silence. It leads to right hearing, right understanding, and right speaking. 

Oh so true, Dave Roper!

And Solomon, with the wisdom God gave him to dispense the Lord’s truths in the book of Proverbs, wrote much about how we too often speak too soon breaking the silence of wisdom and speaking like a wrecking ball to tear down relationships (see highlight and reference passages from Proverbs, linked above). And the Apostle Paul, inspired by God’s Spirit, wrote (see Ephesians 4:29) to avoid “corrupt speaking” by only voicing thoughts which either lifted someone up or gave them grace. And Jesus’ brother, James, wrote a lot about the dangers of using “the tongue” to set unrestrained fires in our lives [see the link to James, Chapter 3 above].

 In other words, … you’ve probably heard the old adage that “we have two ears and one tongue, and we should probably use them in that proportion.” So, I’m praying today that I can take this wisdom to the way I live and listen more and speak less … unless God leads my speech to glorify Him and help others.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, dear Lord, … Help me to bridle my tongue and speak, as Your word leads, … only to edify and give grace 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, November 22, 2015

November 22, 2015: Our Best in Worship

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 325  

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, … declaring to our God the desire for us to come with our best, our first fruits, to worship our Lord.


Highlight Passage:   Luke 10:41-42 [NKJV] …  
41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” 
 … Our Lord loves it when we really give our utmost … our first fruit of worship … for His sake. 
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Highlight Context – Luke 10:38-42 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… Jesus prioritizes what Mary had to give for her Lord
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Reference Passage #1 - Genesis 4: 3-5 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God demands our best in worship … not just something we consider as “good enough.”

Reference Passage #2 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] … 
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 
… Here’s what Jesus ALWAYS demands of His disciples.

Reference Passage #3 - Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Our living is to be as a “living sacrifice,” pleasing to God, … as a living act of worship for Him.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Anne Cetas, teaches on the essence of Christian worship by using the story of Martha and Mary’s acts of service in worship for Jesus. And having read the story in Luke 10, linked above, we know how Jesus showed Martha that Mary had given her utmost, whereas Martha had not given her ALL to be as Paul wrote in Romans 12:1-2, a “living sacrifice.”

Giving our best to God, not just what we consider “good enough,” is a theme about worship which goes all the way back to the struggle between the first brothers of faith, Cain and Abel (see Gen. 4:3-5 linked above). Cain gave, from God’s providence, what he considered “good enough,” but Abel gave the “first fruits” from God, i.e., his best, to God. And we know the outcome of those offerings of worship.

 Hillsong sings, in today’s worship song (link above), that everyday we come to live as worship to our Lord, showing our love for Him in how we live and move and have our being in this life. The question becomes for all who love God. … What are we bringing to our Lord as living sacrifice to/for Him? … Are we bringing what we consider a GOOD ENOUGH offering; … or are we going to bring Him our BEST?

My Prayer Today:  Oh, dear Lord, … I come to worship today with what I consider my ALL. I pray it is that 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, November 21, 2015

November 21, 2015: Press On to the Prize

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 324  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a video of the group Selah singing… Press On, … declaring the goal of all Christians … to press on to the prize of knowing our God more intimately … day-by-day-by-day.


Highlight Passage:   Philippians 3:14 [NKJV] …  
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
 … Paul was driven onward to reach THE ULTIMATE PRIZE of knowing his Lord intimately. 
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Highlight Context – Philippians 3:7-14 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… Paul’s goal was THE PRIZE of knowing and serving His Lord.
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Reference Passage #1 - 1st Corinthians 9:24-25 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul on running the race of life in such a way to win the crowns in glory that God has for all in HIS RACE, running for HIS GLORY.

Reference Passage #2 - 2nd Timothy 4:6-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK … At the end of Paul’s live he exhorted his protege, Timothy, to finish his “race” in life well as Paul felt he had done.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, David C McCasland, used a word picture illustration to teach about the goal of all Christians. And the author writes … In every field of endeavor, one award is considered the epitome of recognition and success. An Olympic gold medal [see attached photo], a Grammy, an Academy Award, or a Nobel Prize are among “the big ones.” But there is a greater prize that anyone can obtain. 

And today’s ODB teaching goes on to make reference (in the highlight and reference passages above) to the Apostle Paul’s teaching and exhortation of running in the race we call life. He often used the word picture of a spiritual athlete, such as himself, running God’s race - for HIS glory - and to pursue and win God’s prize (i.e., His crowns in glory), awaiting all who “press on” (as Selah sings) to win the Lord’s prize.

 How about it, dear one? … Let’s you and me keep-on-keeping-on and run the race … today, tomorrow, and onward, … pressing onward to know God more intimately daily and to win the crowns awaiting us in Glory.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, dear Lord, … I run the race today and always 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.

Friday, November 20, 2015

November 20, 2015: Primary Focus

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 323  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Clay Crosse, Bebe Winans, and Bob Carlisle singing… I Will Follow Christ, … declaring for the second day my devotionals what should be the PRIMARY pursuit of all Christians … to follow Christ … to seek His will and His way … from His instruction Book, … His living word!!


Highlight Passage:   Galatians 1: 10  [NKJV] …  
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. 
 … Rebuilding the Temple, upon return from Babylonian captivity, God’s people followed God’s instructions from His word.
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Highlight Context – Galatians 1: 6-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… Paul’s primary focus was ALWAYS on His calling … to share THE Gospel.
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Reference Passage #1 - Psalm 119:9-11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Getting God’s word deeply into our hearts helps us retain our focus preeminently on Christ.

Reference Passage #2 - Proverbs 3:5-6 [NKJV] …  
6 Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. 
… Our primary focus should always be on God’s will … and not our own or that of others.

  Reference Passage #3 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] …  
23 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. … “ 
… Jesus’ directions to His followers … to follow HIM … as their primary focus in life.

Reference Passage #4 - 1st Corinthians 11:1 [NKJV] …  
1 Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. 
 … Paul encouraged others to follow His lead … ONLY because the Apostle knew he was following Christ

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Jaime Fernandez Garrido, used a pertinent illustration to teach about spiritual priorities. Garrido writes … Peer pressure is part of everyday life. Sometimes we base our decisions on what other people will think or say rather than on our convictions and on what will please God. We’re worried that we’ll be judged or made fun of. 

And today’s ODB teaching is not only a challenge for teenagers (as in the attached photo). Peer pressure is a common malady for all of of sin-ridden mankind. We so often look to focus on the opinions of others to lead us in our own decision-making.

 The Apostle Paul dealt with this a lot in many of his letters because new Christians, especially Jewish Christians in his day, were often confronted with orthodox Jewish leaders who felt that the only way to truly follow Christ was to focus on God’s law and do life “the traditional Jewish” way. And Paul, as he developed a close, intimate, and deep relationship with His Lord, recognized his calling to reach out to Gentiles. And in doing so, he became confident in telling other Christians that they could follow him, as an Apostle, because he knew that his primary focus was on being and becoming like Christ (see 1st Cor. 11: 1). But even more than following his Apostleship, Paul wanted Christians to develop their own Christian focus … i.e., to develop their own close and abiding relationship with Christ.

As Christian disciples, I think you’d agree that we desire to follow and focus PRIMARILY on Christ’s commands (see again the words of Jesus I quote most often in my devotionals - see Luke 9: 23 above).  In fact, I REALLY hope we all have that one memorized and internalized. Because if you’re like me, it’s all too easy to try to impress others as we confront the questions and decisions of life. And I will pray below that we all go deep in our relationship with Christ so that we will seek His will, focus on HIM, and follow His ways, … primarily by using His truth (i.e., God’s word) to lead us.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, dear Lord, … Help all who read here today, and yours truly, to focus on YOU and to avoid doing life by following others or our own will. … 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, November 19, 2015

November 19, 2015: Following THE Instructions

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 322  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Clay Crosse, Bebe Winans, and Bob Carlisle singing… I Will Follow Christ, … declaring what should be the pursuit of all Christians … to follow Christ … to seek His will and His way … from His instruction Book, … His living word!!

 
Highlight Passage:   Ezra 3: 2 [NKJV] …  
2 Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak[a] and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, arose and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. 
 … Rebuilding the Temple, upon return from Babylonian captivity, God’s people followed God’s instructions from His word.
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Highlight Context – Ezra 3: 1-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… God’s people, following God’s word - AS IT IS WRITTEN!!
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Reference Passage #1 - Psalm 119: 105 [NKJV] …  
105 Your word is a lamp to my feed and a light to my path. 
… Best to use His word to light our way, … don’tcha think?

Reference Passage #2 - Nehemiah 8: 1-3 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… After the walls had been rebuilt in Jerusalem, God’s remnant were read God’s instructions in His Book of the Law by Ezra and their priesthood.

Reference Passage #3 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] …  
23 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. … “ 
… Jesus’ directions to His followers … to follow HIM

Reference Passage #4 - 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.” 
 … Jesus’ directions to His disciples … to show their love for Him by following His commandments … HIS DIRECTIONS for life.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Dave Branon, used a personal illustration. He writes … When it comes to putting things together—electronics, furniture, and the like—my son and I have differing approaches. Steve is more mechanically inclined, so he tends to toss the instructions aside and just start in. Meanwhile, I’m poring over the “Read This Before Starting” warning while he has already put the thing halfway together. … Sometimes we can get by without the instructions. But when it comes to putting together a life that reflects the goodness and wisdom of God, we can’t afford to ignore the directions He’s given to us in the Bible. 

Notice how God’s leaders, Ezra and God’s Priests [in the passages from Ezra 3 and Nehemiah 8), in the highlight ODB passages today, helped God’s people get back on track when they had returned to Jerusalem from Babylon and were rebuilding the Temple. Ezra helped them see that the best way to rebuild the Temple, and their lives, was to hear, understand, and follow God’s word.

 What about you, my fellow disciple of Christ? When you purchase something which states, “Some assembly required,” do you go to the instructions; … or do you launch ahead, trying to figure out how to put all the bolts into place on your own? Personally, I’m a FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS kind of Christian, … primarily because I don’t trust myself, having tried many times to go through life, following my own way, rather than trying to do it as Christ instructed His followers (see Luke 9: 23 copied above).

 These days when my wife and I are planning to drive somewhere we’ve never been before, we’ve learned (well, I’ve learned) … that if old Bill is driving [me], we better use the GPS on my smart phone and not rely on me to try and nose my way to our destination. What about you? Are you the control-oriented type who wants to go it alone; or do you know it’s best to use the GPS?

 In today’s complex and confusing world, don’t you think, as today’s ODB lesson teaches, that it’s best to follow God’s GPS {i.e., “God’s Plan of Sanctification”), which, of course, is found in God’s instruction manual, the Bible, … rather than trying to launch out and go it on our own?

 I do! … That’s why you find me here, EVERY DAY, getting my day started by tuning my way to God’s GPS, … digging into GOD’S instructions for life, given to me in His word. Feel free to come along here with me daily and go over God’s instruction book; and let’s see if it doesn’t help us get through the minefields we call LIFE.

My Prayer Today:  Yes, Lord Jesus, … Show me the way, Your way; and I will seek Your directions from Your word. … Amen  

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

November 18, 2015: Son Shine

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 320  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Jason Gray singing… Glow In The Dark, … joyously declaring how Christians can shine the light of Christ even when surrounded by the darkness of the world.

 
Highlight Passage:   Matthew 5:16 [NKJV] …  
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. 
… Could it be any clearer … i.e., what our task is as Christian Light bearers.
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Highlight Context – Matthew 5:14-16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… Jesus tells His followers to reflect His light into the darkness of the world.
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 9:2 [NKJV] … 
2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; and those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a Light has shined. 
… God’s prophesy of Christ, the Light of the world, coming to dispel the darkness.

Reference Passage #2 - John 1:5, 8:12, 9:5 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… One of John’s main gospel themes … The darkness of the world needs the Light of Christ.

Reference Passage #3 - Ephesians 5:8-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul exhorts those (i.e., Christians) who’ve been given Christ’s light to walk in His Light.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, used an interesting quirk of geography to illustrate how we, as Christians, need to be bearers of the Light of Christ. He writes … Due to its location among sheer mountains and its northern latitude, Rjukan, Norway, does not see natural sunlight from October to March. To lighten up the town, the citizens installed large mirrors on the mountainside to reflect the sunrays and beam sunlight into the town square. [See attached photo] The continuous glow is made possible because the giant mirrors rotate with the rising and setting sun. 

Hey, fellow Christian, … have you ever been in a place where you feel like the darkness of the world, or your own heart, is closing in around you? … Sure! … We all have, haven’t we?

 But today’s message from Jesus to His true followers - I.e., disciples - (in Matthew 5:14-16) charges us to take His light, and shine it into the dark places in this world [see all the passages from John’s Gospel). That’s why Lawrence Darmani’s word picture in today’s ODB is so illustrative of what we need to be for the world … and that is “Son Light.”

 Please take the time to use the You Tube link above and view a joyful video of Jason Gray singing his upbeat song, ”Glow In The Dark,” with a bright illustration in song and video of how we should’n’t let the darkness of the world overtake us.

 NO! … We should go out - even today - and reflect the light of the Son into the darkness around us.

My Prayer Today:  Yes, Lord Jesus, … Shine, Jesus, shine … thru me - somehow - today. … Amen  

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

November 17, 2015: Safely In His Arms

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 320  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of an anonymous chorus singing an old 19th century Fanny Crosby hymn… Safe In The Arms of Jesus, … declaring the reality of our being comforted - in our faith - by the One Who came to save us from our sorrows, struggles, and fears.


Highlight Passage:   Isaiah 66: 13 [NKJV] …  
13 As one whom his mother comforts, so I (the LORD) shall comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. 
… God will take His people into His arms one day to comfort them FOREVER.
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Highlight Context – Isaiah 66:5-13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… God’s prophesy of ultimate peace in Israel to be in the arms of His Son (Jesus)
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Reference Passage #1 - Isaiah 26: 3 [NKJV] … 
3 You (Lord) will keep him (your own) in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. 
… God’s promise of peace to those who trust Him and keep their focus on Him.

Reference Passage #2 - John 16:33 [NKJV] … 
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[a] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 
… Jesus has suffered more (for us) and has overcome the world (for us).

Reference Passage #3 - 2nd Cor. 1: 3-4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Even when we have suffered, we can find comfort in the arms of Jesus and then share that comfort with others who suffer.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, shared a personal illustration to illustrate her teaching. She writes, I sat next to my daughter’s bed in a recovery room after she had undergone surgery. When her eyes fluttered open, she realized she was uncomfortable and started to cry. I tried to reassure her by stroking her arm, but she only became more upset. With help from a nurse, I moved her from the bed and onto my lap. I brushed tears from her cheeks and reminded her that she would eventually feel better. 

There are times when we suffer when the only ones who can give us comfort are ones we trust, and especially ones who’ve been through suffering themselves. That’s what author Schuldt is teaching with her own witness. Yes, we will suffer in this life. But as Jesus, Himself, taught, we can be comforted by the One Who has overcome the world for those who believe in Him [see John 16:33]. And that’s what Isaiah proclaimed over 700 years before Christ was incarnated to save the world. (see Isaiah 26:3 and today’s highlight passage in Is. 66)

 My fellow Christian, as we live in this world, especially when we encounter troubles or pain or struggles, we simply must crawl up in the lap of our Lord, Jesus, as author Schuldt pictured and is depicted in the attached photo today. And be comforted, finding peace, from the One Who has overcome our world of hurts and is coming again to take His people to be with Him … FOREVER !!! … in that place of no tears or sorrow.

My Prayer Today:  Yes, Lord Jesus, … Come soon, and take us to be with You in glory. … Amen  

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

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015: Fulfilling Christ’s Law

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 319  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Steve Green singing… People Need the Lord, … declaring what should the desire of all Christians … to share the burdens of others with God’s love and grace.

 
Highlight Passage:   Galatians 6:2 [NKJV] …  
2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 
… Jesus came to fulfill the Law of God. Now we can fulfill Christ’s Law by sharing the burdens of others.
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Highlight Context – Galatians 6: 1-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… Sharing our burdens with other Christians fulfills the “Law of Christ” [see vs 2]
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Reference Passage #1 - Mark 12: 28-31 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… The “Law of Christ” laid out by our Savior for all to read and all to live.

Reference Passage #2 - 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.” 
… Loving others is to love God.

Reference Passage #3 - First John 4:7-8 [NKJV] … 
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 
… Loving others is to love God.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, shared the essence of the “Law of Christ” with his readers (me); and his message really resonated with one such struggler [yes; me] and how all Christians must fulfill Christ’s Law by sharing the struggles of others … just as He, our Lord, has lifted us up in the all struggles in this life.

 Though the Bible doesn’t specifically spell out “The Law of Christ,” which Paul mentions when he exhorts Christians to help others in their struggles with sin (see today’’s highlight passage from Galatians 6 linked above). However, most scholars point to what Christ said in responding to a Scribe as the statement of Christ’s Law of love (see Mark 12::28-31).

 So, when I read what author Crowder was teaching in today’s ODB entry, I was stricken by what I (WE) can do to as disciples of Christ to fulfill the so-called “Law of Chris.,” And that is, friend, to share the burdens of others, especially, and first, the burdens of other Christians who are struggling with sin in their lives. And that is exactly what has become the personal calling in life for my wife and myself.

 It’s too long a story for today; but, as depicted in the attached photo/painting, years ago Christ lifted my life and then our marriage up when we were dead in our sin. And now He has helped us form a ministry to help Christians walk in victory from the self-imprisonment of habitual sexual sin (see www.battleplanministries.org ).

 And today’s ODB is asking all of us to be Christ for others and to fulfill His Law of Love by helping to lift up others who carry the burden of sin. I’ll leave it to you to fulfill Christ’s Law of love for someone else today or down the road of life.

My Prayer Today:  Yes, Lord, … Give me someone else down the road to use Your enabling grace to share the burdens they carry. … 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, November 15, 2015

November 15, 2015: Count Your Blessings

 Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 318  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Guy Penrod singing the old hymn… Count Your Blessings, … declaring what should the desire of all Christians … to be thankful for all the blessings which God has wrought in our lives. … And then THEN ON TO THIS LINK to hear Laura Story singing her song Blessings, describing the reality that many times God’s blessings come disguised as the trials of life.

 
Highlight Passage:   Psalm 100: 4 [NKJV] …  
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His Name. 
… ALWAYS!!
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Highlight Context – Psalm 100 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… A song of praise and thankfulness to our Lord.
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Reference Passage #1 - Romans 8: 28 [NKJV] … 
23 ALL THINGS work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purposes.
 … Hence, Jesus declares that, in reality, ALL THINGS in life are, in some form, blessings.

Reference Passage #2 - 1st Thessalonians 5: 16-18 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK   
… God exhorting believers, thru Paul, to give thanks in ALL THINGS!!

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Albert Lee, used used a true story involving the famous Dutch evangelist/apologist Corre Ten Boom. He wrote, In her autobiography, Corrie ten Boom described her and her sister Betsie’s horrific time in a Nazi concentration camp in the early 1940s. On one occasion they were forced to take off their clothes during an inspection. Corrie stood in line feeling defiled and forsaken. Suddenly, she remembered that Jesus had hung naked on the cross. Struck with wonder and worship, Corrie whispered to her sister, “Betsie, they took His clothes too.” Betsie gasped and said, “Oh, Corrie, . . . and I never thanked Him.” 

Isn’t it true that we lose God’s perspective … that He would not bring anything into the life of the born-again Christ which was not for his/her good. Therefore, as Laura Story sings (linked above), so many things in life, especially the trials and challenges, are really His blessings in disguise. And therefore, as Betsie Ten Boom declared in her sister Corrie’s, remembrance above, we need to thank our Lord for EVERYTHING in life (see also Paul’s declaration in 1st Thess. 6: 18).

Yes, even the tough stuff.

 So, as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, let’s do what Guy Penrod sings (linked above) and count our blessings … one-by-one; … and really, do all we can to even thank God for the tough trials of life, which are very likely His blessings in disguise.

My Prayer Today:  Yes, Lord, … Help me to have the discernment to see Your blessings - even in the trials of 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.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

November 14, 2015: Nothing Too Big for God

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 317  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Chris Tomlin leading in worship and singing… How Great Is Our God, … declaring the reality of the greatest of King Jesus, our God!! … And THEN USE THIS LINK  where Steven Curtis Chapman sings … His Strength Is Perfect to cover weakness when we cannot handle life’s trials.

 
Highlight Passage:   Isaiah 37: 23 [NKJV] …  
23 Whom have you (Sennacherib) reproached and blasphemed? Against Whom have you raised your voice and lifted up your eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel. 
… Don’t mess with God!! … He’s too big!!
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Highlight Context – Isaiah, Chapters 37 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… The Prophet Isaiah with God’s assurance of victory over Sennacherib and Assyria’s assault on King Hezekiah and Judah in Jerusalem.
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Reference Passage #1 - Romans 8: 28 [NKJV] … 
23 All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purposes. 
… Jesus declares that HE isTHE WAY to overcome any trials in our lives as Christians.

Reference Passage #2 - 1st Corinthians 10:13 [NKJV] … 1
3 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 
… No matter what the trial or trouble, nothing is too big for us to handle … WITH GOD!!

Reference Passage #3 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 9-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…Jesus, Himself, declares to an injured Paul that NOTHING is too great that His grace cannot overcome.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson, used used a story of the seemingly brazen faith of Finnish soldiers during WW2 invasion of German tanks. He wrote, It began as a distant, foreboding hum, then grew into an ominous, earth-rattling din. Soon hundreds of tanks and thousands of enemy infantrymen swarmed into view of the badly outnumbered soldiers in Finland. Assessing the murderous wave, an anonymous Finn lent some perspective. Courageously, he wondered aloud about the enemy: “Where will we find room to bury them all?”

But the faith of those Finnish soldiers was no more brazen than the true story of how King Hezekiah faced up to the assault of King Sennacherib on Jerusalem in the days when Isaiah was God’s Prophet in Judah (i.e., Israel). We read about it in Isaiah, Chapter 37, linked above, as well as 2nd Kings, Chapters 18-19.

 The Assyrians, with a far superior force of arms to those in Jerusalem, surrounded Hezekiah in the city and were going to starve out the people. But Hezekiah had prepared for the battle, building tunnels to bring in water and storing food to last for years; and then God did HIS thing and caused the enemies of His people to fold, which illustrates the point of today’s ODB entry … that NOTHING IS TOO BIG FOR GOD!!

 I exhort you to take the time to listen intently to BOTH of the songs linked above and to meditate on at least the three reference Scriptures provided; and if you’re surrounded by a tough trial now or anticipate one soon, realize that it is our Lord’s promise that He can - AND WILL - prevail over any challenge we face in life. Dear one, I strongly say again, … NOTHING IS TOO BIG FOR OUR GOD!!!

My Prayer Today:  Yes, Lord, … I believe that … now, help me live it!! … Amen  

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

Friday, November 13, 2015

November 13, 2015 - Sin Wreaks of Death

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 316 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing… He’ll Do Whatever It Takes, … declaring the truth that God will provide His saving/sanctifying grace (i.e, His power) for us to overcome the sensation of sin and to be purged of its effects, … ultimately being reformed into the image of our Lord.


Highlight Passage:   Genesis 3: 4-5 [NKJV] …
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 
 … Sin is so alluring; … but it smells of death.
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Highlight Context – Genesis, Chapter 3 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… Adam/Eve drawn by the stench of death and tempted to go against God’s will by Satan’s lure. 
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Reference Passage #1 - John 10: 10 [NKJV] … 
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 
… Jesus declares that He has proved THE WAY to overcome the temptation and death smell of sin.

Reference Passage #2 - 1st Corinthians 10:13 [NKJV] … 
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 
… No matter what the temptation sin affords, God will not allow a Christian to be tempted/tried beyond his/her capability, with the assistance of God’s empowering grace to overcome the sin.

Reference Passage #3 - 1st John 1:7-9 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… if we recognize who we are, in our sin-ridden humanity, and confess our sin, God will cleanse us of any/all sin.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Marvin Williams, used used an interesting floral picture to illustrate the power of sin. He writes in today’s ODB. In August 2013, large crowds gathered at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to witness the blooming of the tropical plant known as the corpse flower. Since the flower is native to Indonesia, and may flower only once every several years, its blooming is a spectacle. Once open, the huge spiky, beautiful, red bloom smells like rotten meat. Because of its putrid fragrance, the flower attracts flies and beetles that are looking for rotting meat. But there is no nectar. 

Williams illustrates that, like the “corpse flower,” sin is alluring to those of us who’re drawn away from the will and promise of God by our own sin nature. As it was with Eve first, and then Adam, we can be tempted to come to the sensational allure of sin; and like the insects are drawn to the corpse flower, we quite often, as did Adam/Eve, will fall to that powerful sensation of sinfulness. However, as it was God’s plan for fallen and sin-ridden humanity, to be freed from that curse (read from Genesis 3 above] in the Father’s Son, Who has given us a way to resist the allure of sin and to be cleansed by His blood (see John 10: 10 & 1John 1:7-9).

 So, fellow Christian, if we smell the alluring sensation and beauty of sin, which is death, in our presence, rely on the indwelling power of God’s Spirit, residing in us by our faith in God’s empowering grace, to allow us to turn away from Satan’s promise of sin to THE PROMISE of our Savior to give us eternal life [see 1st Cor. 10: 13]. We need not partake of the alluring smell of death [i.e., sin] and honor God by turning away from selfishness to partake of the eternal sweetness of God’s fruitfulness (see Galatians 5: 22-23).

My Prayer Today:  Dear Lord, … Allow me to see and sense the temptation of the enemy and to turn away to partake of Your fruit. … 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, November 12, 2015

November 12, 2015:  Majestic - OR - Messy

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 315  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Larnelle Harris singing… Love Found A Way, … declaring the truth that God found a way - through the grace of His love - to over come the messiness of humanity’s sin crisis.


Highlight Passage:   Romans 12:18 [NKJV] …  
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 
 … Coming out from the messiness of life and living under the majestic love of God.                        
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Highlight Context – Romans 12:14-21 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… Paul declares the remedy for the messiness of humanity … i.e, to live under the love of God. 
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Reference Passage #1 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] … 
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. …” 
… Jesus shows the way to overcome life’s messy journey - by surrendering to His love and following Him obediently.

Reference Passage #2 - 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.” 
… Jesus’ love and grace are only for those who’ve been willing to give their all to/for Him.

Reference Passage #3 - Ephesians 2:8-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Our good works are shown for God’s glory when we surrender - in faith - to receive God’s saving and sanctifying grace.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Randy Kilgore, used the following story to illustrate his teaching. When we first moved into our present home, I enjoyed the beauty of the geese that nest nearby. I admired the way they cared for each other and the way they moved in straight lines in the water and in majestic V-formations in the air. It was also a joy to watch them raise their young. … Then summer came, and I discovered some less beautiful truths about my feathered friends. You see, geese love to eat grass, and they don’t really care if it ruins the look of the lawn. Worse, what they leave behind makes a stroll across the yard a messy adventure. 

Like those majestic and messy geese, we have the dual potential for glory or gory. We humans can exhibit majesty or messiness as our free will leads us. When we choose to follow the Savior, life can be shaped into His majestic image [see Eph. 2:8-10]. However, when we choose to follow self, life often - really, almost always - can get quite messy, letting our selfishness and sin nature get in the way of God’s love and grace.

 So, when we surrender to God’s will and follow His way [see Luke 9: 23], usually being led by His will, we fly free like those Canadian geese pictured in the attached photo. But when try to control things on our own, trying to satisfy self, rather than the Savior, … well, I think you know what that picture looks like - messy, messy, messy!! …

 I don’t know about you … but today I’m going to do all I can to fly in God’s flock and following the lead of my Savior.

My Prayer Today:  Yes, Lord, … Help me to fly free with 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.