Saturday, December 31, 2016

December 31, 2016 ... Starting Over with Christ

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 366

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from my friend Clay Cross and two of his friends, Bib Carlisle and Bebe Winans singing … I Will Follow Christ … poignantly singing of how all times are the right time to start over and follow Christ.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 2nd Corinthians 6:2b [NKJV] … 
2 Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 
… Now or anytime is the time to begin anew with Christ!
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Highlight Passage [context]: 2nd Corinthians 5:17-6:2 … USE THIS LINK
… Any time is the acceptable time to receive Christ’s freely offered saving grace; and in that time all things become new.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … John 3:3 [NLT] … 
3 Jesus answered and said to him [Nicodemus], “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 
… Jesus declares the need of everyone/anyone to be born-again in Him.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, used a personal story to illustrate our childlike need to run to our Abba Father when we carry burdens too heavy for us to bare. The ODB author wrote: Our preschool-age granddaughter Maggie and her kindergarten-age sister Katie hauled several blankets to the backyard, where they proceeded to build a blanket tent in which to play. 
They had been outside a while when their mom heard Maggie call for her. “Mom, come here quick!” Maggie yelled. “I want to ask Jesus into my heart, and I need your help!” 
Apparently at that moment her need for Jesus became clear to her, and she was ready to put her faith in Him. Maggie’s urgent call for help in trusting Jesus brings to mind Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 6 about salvation. 

And once anyone, like Maggie, truly receives the saving grace of Christ, his/her life starts over in a trek, following Christ, to eternity. As the Apostle Paul wrote to his fellow Christians [see highlight passage above], beginning anew in Christ makes everything new.

And what better day than TODAY, New Year’s Eve, to START OVER with Christ. Little Maggie started her life over the moment she received Christ as Lord and Savior. And certainly that’s the ultimate starting point for our eternal life in Christ … just as Jesus taught Nicodemus in that garden encounter (see John 3:3). However, if you’re already a born-again believer, you can - well, we all can - start over moving into the new year.

Each year on this date, my computer reminds me to GO TO THIS LINK  and read and meditate on a poem written by Woodrow Kroll. And I would exhort any reader here to use that link above and take in this poignant word of truth from this eminent Bible teacher. And then PLEASE take in the linked song for this journal entry, where a friend of mine, and two friends of his, sing of what we, as Christians, must do in starting over in 2017.

Yes, my friends, as Paul wrote (in 2Cor. 6:2) and the Christian brothers sing (linked above) … “NOW is the acceptable time” to follow Christ.   

So, as Woodrow Kroll writes, let’s START OVER.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … I begin again to serve You in the new year. ... 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, December 30, 2016

December 30, 2016 ... Alone With God

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 365

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Steven Curtis Chapman singing … Be Still and Know … poignantly singing of how our God is so faithful to us, willing and able to provide us with our needs, especially when we feel unable to carry our burdens.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 14:22-23 [NKJV] … 
22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 
… After and exhausting time feeding the multitudes, Jesus sends them away; and He goes up to a high place to be with His Father.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 14:13-23 … USE THIS LINK
… After working in 100% obedience to Jesus’ heavenly Father, in His humanity and spirit, our Lord, The Christ, often needed time to be with His Abba Father … to refresh, to renew and to ready Himself to move on in service to His Father.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Matthew 11:28-30 [NLT] … 
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” 
… Our Lord invites us to bring our burdens to Him and to let Him help us carry our load.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Matthew 26:36 [NLT] … 
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 
… Carrying His greatest burden yet, Jesus needed to get alone with His Father to unburden His soul.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 1st Corinthians 10:13 [NLT] … 
13 No temptation [test, trial, or trouble] 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. 
…What a great truth and promise when we’re overburdened at times.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, used a personal story to illustrate our childlike need to run to our Abba Father when we carry burdens too heavy for us to bare. The ODB author wrote: It was a busy morning in the church room where I was helping. Nearly a dozen little children were chattering and playing. There was so much activity that the room became warm and I propped the door open. One little boy saw this as his chance to escape so when he thought no one was looking, he tiptoed out the door. Hot on his trail, I wasn’t surprised that he was headed straight for his daddy’s arms. 
The little boy did what we need to do when life becomes busy and overwhelming—he slipped away to be with his father. 

Cute story; but one with a deeper truth with which we all can identify; … that quite often we need to follow Jesus’ example of going off ALONE to spend time and renewing prayer with our Heavenly Father. In His humanity, Jesus must’ve felt way overburdened, much like He must’ve in the Garden of Gethsemane just before going to the cross or after carrying out many of the miracles God’s Spirit empowered Him to perform to show His divinity to mankind.

And often we too can get overburdened by the weight of human circumstances, can’t we? And in those times what do we need to do? Well, I think anyone who’s taken in today’s linked song and the Scriptures provided knows that our Lord invites us to come to Him so that He, caring so deeply for our needs, can help us carry our load.

Maybe you, as in the picture, need to get alone with God and unburden yourself today. That’s what I’ve been doing this very morning, just before I wrote this journal entry; and I’m uplifted in spirit knowing that my God would never give me anything to carry which, along with His faithful help, I cannot carry [go meditate on 1st Cor. 10:13 above].

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … It’s so uplifting being alone with You here. Help me, Lord! ... Amen

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

Thursday, December 29, 2016

December 29, 2016 ... Signet to the World

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 364

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from an album of Dennis Jernigen songs with Dennis joining Annie Herring in singing … Faithful and True … poignantly singing of how our God is so faithful to us, which calls us to be faithful and true to Him.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Haggai 2:23 [NKJV] … 
23 “But when this happens, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, I will honor you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant. I will make you like a signet ring on my finger, says the Lord, for I have chosen you. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!” 
… As with Zerubbbel, we are God’s chosen signets with His authority to bring witness in His Name. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Haggai 2:15-23 … USE THIS LINK
… God chooses Zerubbabel to be the Lord’s signet ring to rebuild His Temple.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Matthew 28:19-20 [NLT] … 
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[a] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 
 … As Christ’s disciples, we are to carry His Name and message to the world … with HIS authority.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Acts 1:8 [NLT] … 
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 
… We are sealed by His Spirit to become His witnesses.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, used a personal and historical reference to illustrate how we, as Christians, are given the authority of Christ to carry His Gospel message to the world. The ODB author wrote: When I first made the acquaintance of a new friend from abroad, I noticed his posh English accent and that he wore a ring on his little finger. Later I learned that this wasn’t just jewelry; it revealed his family’s history through the family crest engraved on it. 
It was a bit like a signet ring—perhaps like the one in Haggai. In this short Old Testament book, the prophet Haggai calls for the people of God to restart the rebuilding of the temple. They had been exiled and had now returned to their homeland and begun rebuilding, but enemy opposition to their project had stalled them. Haggai’s message includes God’s promise to Zerubbabel, Judah’s leader, that he had been chosen and set apart as their leader, like a signet ring. 

We’re about to move into a new year; and it’s important that we look back, perhaps for the last year, and determine whether we, as Christ’s witnesses, have been His signet followers, carrying His Gospel message to the world as we’re called to do (see the reference passages above).

In more ancient days, a signet ring was used by one sending a message or letter (see photo) to carry the seal of authority from a king or leader for the message being sent. And that’s a picture of what we need to be to the world, … just as we were charged to be as Christ’s disciples (again, Acts 1:8 and the Great Commission).

Therefore, … in looking back at the last year, … I must confess I probably should’ve done more to carry the Spirit-imparted seal of Christ’s Gospel to others; … so, my resolution and commitment should be to be a clearer, more obvious signet for my Lord in the New Year.

How about you?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … You’ve charged me to carry Your seal to those who need Your Gospel message. Help me to fulfill that calling, Lord! ... Amen

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

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December 28, 2016 ... God’s Love - Locked In FOREVER

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 363

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Third Day leading an audience in worship and singing the old hymn … Blessed Assurance … joyously singing and declaring of the eternal promise of God’s love forever for all who believe in His saving grace, assured for us by His shed blood and His resurrection.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Romans 8:38-39 [NKJV] … 
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
… Paul’s persuaded apologetic about the locked-in and eternal nature of God’s love. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Romans 8:31-39 … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, declares the eternal permanence of His love, … measured and displayed by His death on the cross and His resurrection.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Psalm 106: 1 [NLT] … 
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! … His faithful love endures forever. 
… Truth!!!

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Cindy Hess Kasper, used a news event in 2015 to illustrate the permanent nature of God’s love. The ODB author wrote: In June 2015, the city of Paris removed forty-five tons of padlocks from the railings of the Pont des Arts pedestrian bridge. As a romantic gesture, couples would etch their initials onto a lock, attach it to the railing, click it shut, and throw the key into the River Seine. After this ritual was repeated thousands of times, the bridge could no longer bear the weight of so much “love.” Eventually the city, fearing for the integrity of the bridge, removed the “love locks.” 
The locks were meant to symbolize everlasting love, but human love does not always last. … But there is one constant and enduring love—the love of God. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever,” proclaims Psalm 106:1 

I think we, as Christians, can get the word picture to assure us of God’s love. But the ODB author went on to write the following, which I feel compelled to included, because it strongly assures us of God’s “LOCKED-IN LOVE.”

Christ’s work on the cross to secure our salvation has been completed. With a triumphant proclamation, Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus returned to the Father. Now seated at God’s right hand, the exalted Christ continues His redemptive and sanctifying work as our eternal High Priest (Heb. 4:14–16). He is our “Advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1–2; 1 Tim. 2:5), always defending and interceding for us (Heb. 7:24–25; 9:24). Paul confidently writes, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). No one can successfully bring a charge of condemnation against those who are in Christ (vv. 33–34). 

I know my journal entry may be a bit long today; but I hope you’ve taken the time to digest these truths and the assurance of the linked song above. And then, going into a new year very soon, I pray we all stand and live by the realization that God’s love was lock-solid and eternally guaranteed when He shed His blood and died on the cross; and that love can be eternally received by faith by anyone who believes - and declares - that Jesus died for our sins and has allows us to be with Him for eternity.

And moving into 2017 that’s a deal I was not able to pass up; and I pray any reader here has received God's locked-in love as well.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, thank You for Your love, … locked in forever when You died for me and any believer who has received Your love/grace in faith. ... Amen

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

December 27, 2016 ... Witness to His Glory

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 362

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Dolly Parton singing the old Advent Spiritual … Go Tell It On the Mountain … joyously singing and declaring, in witness, that “Jesus Christ is LORD!”


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Highlight Verse[s]: 2 Peter 1:16 [NKJV] … 
16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 
… Peter testifies to the glory he had personally seen in Christ … no less that we can - or should - do as our Lord’s witnesses.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 2 Peter 1:12-21 … USE THIS LINK
… Peter, in his last will and testament gives witness to what he has found in His relationship with King Jesus, the Christ.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Matthew 28:19-20 … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus declares, in his Great Commission, that we are to go and share His glory with any/all who will come to Him for salvation and sanctification.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Acts 1:8 … 
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’ charge to all disciples upon His re-ascent to heaven, … that we are to be His witnesses until He comes again.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Randy Kilgore, tells a personal story to illustrate the power of a personal testimony of how Jesus Christ changes a life. You can read the ODB for today by going to the “Blogger Note” link below. But earlier this month I also wrote (USE THIS LINK) about the power of our own story of transformation in Christ. Perhaps reading my blog now might help bolster any reader’s confidence in the power of our story to give glory to our Lord.

After His resurrection, and just before Jesus ascended into heaven, He charged His disciples (i.e., all who are born-again in Him) to “GO” and be His witnesses to all who will listen to our story (see Matt. 28:19 and Acts 1:8. Dolly Parton joyously sings just that in that wonderful old Advent Carol (linked above) … that we are to “GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN”, … not only that Jesus was born … but that He has changed our lives forever.

The question I’m asking of myself (and perhaps you should ask of yourself), have we been the witnesses Christ has called us to be in 2016; … but even more importantly, will we “go tell it on the mountain” in 2017?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, give me the empowering grace to share how YOUR STORY changed MY STORY for eternity. ... 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, December 26, 2016

December 26, 2016 ... Waiting On God

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 361

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Sara Groves singing her song … I’ll Wait … poignantly singing about one of the toughest things for any believer to do … to wait on God’s timing.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Luke 2:25 [NKJV] … 
25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 
… Simeon waited patiently on God for all of his life; and his faith in God’s promise was finally rewarded.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Luke 2:25-38 … USE THIS LINK
… Luke’s account of two believers, Simeon and Anna, who faithfully waited and served their awaited Messiah all of their life.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 … USE THIS LINK
… Believing that and living it are two different things!

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Galatians 4:4-5 … 
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 
 … It’s so hard to wait on God’s timing to fulfill His promises.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Julie Ackerman Link, made a personal confession to illustrate how difficult it can be at times to wait on God’s timing. The ODB author writes: Sometimes I joke that I'm going to write a book titled On Time. Those who know me smile because they know I am often late. I rationalize that my lateness is due to optimism, not to lack of trying. I optimistically cling to the faulty belief that “this time” I will be able to get more done in less time than ever before. But I can't, and I don't, so I end up having to apologize yet again for my failure to show up on time. 
In contrast, God is always on time. We may think He's late, but He's not. Throughout Scripture we read about people becoming impatient with God’s timing. 

However, two who did have the patience and trust to wait on God are described in Luke’s account of the Messiah coming to mankind [see Luke 2:25-38] … two who had faithfully waited on their promised One all of their lives; … and finally, … in the course of God’s perfect timing, He allowed His Temple servants, Simeon and Anna, to see their Lord face-to-face.

BUT … perhaps we’ve waited faithfully for God to act - even to fulfill what we believe to be His will, - and God’s timing just doesn’t seem to match our desires. … UGH!! … Well, that’s what Sara Groves sings about in her song, linked above. It can be really tough to live up to the truth of Proverbs 3: 5-6, can’t it? But trusting in our God and waiting on HIS timing, which is always perfect, is what we’re often called to do.

I’ve got several long-term prayers which have gone seemingly unanswered for years. How about you? … Well, let’s keep praying … and trusting … that God knows best when to answer our desires with His will.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, help me to be patient and wait on You faithfully, knowing that Your timing is perfect. ... 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, December 25, 2016

December 25, 2016 ... Joy, Joy, Joy!!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 360

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Hillsong singing a contemporary arrangement of the classic Advent carol … Joy to the World … joyously singing of the coming of our Savior … our eternal King, Jesus!


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Highlight Verse[s]: Luke 2:10-11 [NKJV] … 
10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 
… God’s messenger angels proclaim the coming of Messiah to the Bethlehem shepherds. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Luke 2:8-14 … USE THIS LINK
… And the Angels proclaim to the shepherds near Bethlehem of the joy which has come to the world in that Babe born in a manger near them.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … John 3:16-17 … 
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 
… Jesus explains the joyful good news of God’s love and His coming to save mankind.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Philippians 2:5-11 … USE THIS LINK … And Paul writes of the humbling of our King, Who came to live/die for mankind.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David McCasland, used a contemporary story to represent the eternal joy we have when we celebrate the coming of our King Jesus, Who came to save us from our sin. The ODB author writes: On the final day of a Christian publishing conference in Singapore, 280 participants from 50 countries gathered in the outdoor plaza of a hotel for a group photo. From the second-floor balcony, the photographer took many shots from different angles before finally saying, “We’re through.” A voice from the crowd shouted with relief, “Well, joy to the world!” Immediately, someone replied by singing, “The Lord is come.” Others began to join in. Soon the entire group was singing the familiar carol in beautiful harmony. It was a moving display of unity and joy that I will never forget. 

This morning my wife and I will be with our family to share the joy of Christmas; but our family love and celebration will only be a brief remnant of the joy which those chosen and lowly shepherds must’ve felt when God’s Messenger Angels came to them to proclaim the coming of God’s greatest gift to mankind … that Babe, … being born in Bethlehem as the fulfillment of God’s plan to save mankind from our sin.

When you take in the linked song and the Scriptures provided above, meditate on the incredible joy in knowing that God, Himself, came to us as a Babe, grew and walked among man, and then died and was raised again to give us a way to eternal life with Him. So, let’s celebrate the joy of the Advent Season!! … JOY, JOY, JOY!!!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, our joy is always and forever in You and Your gift to mankind. Glory, Glory, Glory! … ALLELUIA!!! ... 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, December 24, 2016

December 24, 2016 ... Walk As The Light

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 359

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Hillsong leading in worship and singing… Here I Am To Worship … joyously singing about our worship of the LIGHT OF THE WORLD, our King Jesus … and THEN ON TO THIS LINK with again Hillsong singing of the Light of the World with beautiful imager from Ilana Yahav using sand art to illustrate how we must be Christ’s light shining from our lives into this dark world.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 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. … 
… And we are those in self-imposed prison of darkness who have benefitted from Christ’s light shining thru the darkness and unto eternity.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Isaiah 9:1-7 … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet, over 700 years before His Advent, proclaims the coming Great Light of the World. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Matthew 5:16 … 
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. 
… Jesus commands His disciples to shine our light - i.e., the Light of Christ - to glorify the Father and to bring light into the darkness of this world.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … John 1:5, 9 … USE THIS LINK
… John, the Baptist, proclaims the coming Light of hope for the world.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 2nd Corinthians 4:3-6 … USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle, Paul, proclaims that we who follow Christ must become His light to those whose eyes are veiled in darkness.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David McCaslandd, used an historical reference to teach on Christians becoming the light of the world to a very dark world. The ODB author writes: Rev. Martin Niemoller, a prominent German pastor, spent nearly eight years in Nazi concentration camps because he openly opposed Hitler. On Christmas Eve 1944, Niemoller spoke these words of hope to his fellow prisoners in Dachau:  “My dear friends, on this Christmas . . . let us seek, in the Babe of Bethlehem, the One who came to us in order to bear with us everything that weighs heavily upon us. . . . God Himself has built a bridge from Himself to us! A dawn from on high has visited us!” 

In this Advent Season, … if you’ve taken in the two poignant song videos linked above as well as the attached photo; … then if you’ve meditated on the Scriptures provided by OBD and yours truly, from God’s word, I would say that it’s likely that you, along with yours truly, are convicted and motivated to become more of Immanuel’s light, shining from our hearts, minds, and actions into the New Year and into this ever darkening world.

As the photo above depicts, let’s all become more of the light of hope in Christ in 2017.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, may I shine Your light brightly in the new year. ... 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, December 23, 2016

December 23, 2016 ... My All For His All

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 358

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Susan Boyle and the Liberia Choir singing… In the Break Midwinter … the beautifully sung Advent song lyrics written by Christina Rossetti, paying special attention to the final verse which is …
What can I give Him, poor as I am? 
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; 
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part; 
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 103:2 [NKJV] … 
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits … 
… In this time of year especially we should remember all our Lord has done for us. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 103:1-5 … USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist remembers all God has done for him.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … John 3:16 … 
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 
… Jesus tells Nicodemus and us all what God has given mankind, the greatest gift of all.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Galatians 5:22-23 … 
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 
 … From all that God has given me in Christ, I would want to reach out in His Name to give more of me for the New Year.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Marion Stroud, used a story of a man sharing his story of the greatest Christmas gift he ever got, when, at Christmas, God gave him the gift of salvation. The ODB author writes: One year, those responsible for decorating their church for Christmas decided to use the theme of “Christmas lists.” Instead of decorating with the usual shiny gold and silver ornaments, they gave each person a red or green tag. On one side they were to write down the gift they would like from Jesus, and on the other they were to list the gift they would give to the One whose birth they were celebrating. 

What would you put on your card, dear one? … As for me, on one side - fry desire rom Him, … as the attached photo and John 3:16 inspires, I would say, “More of You, Lord.” 

And on the other side, reflecting on the fruit of the Spirit listed by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23, I would write, “More of me than ever before!” What would be on your card this Christmas?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, as we move thru this Advent Season, You have already given me Your all; … help me now to give You my all in the New Year. ... 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, December 22, 2016

December 22, 2016 ... My Gift - My Story

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 357

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Big Daddy Weave singing his song… My Story … Powerfully telling of the God speaking the truth of salvation through the story of our changed lives as Christians.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1st Peter 3:15 [NKJV] … 
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
... Our best defense or answer for the skeptic is our story of deliverance and redemption. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st Peter 3:8-18 … USE THIS LINK
… When our faith is questioned or challenged, the best we can give the doubter is our story. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Revelation 12:11 … 
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 
… The word of our testimony will overcome even the strongest of doubters, especially our story of the effect the blood of the Lamb has in changing our lives.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Randy Kilgore, used a story of a man sharing his story of the greatest Christmas gift he ever got, when, at Christmas, God gave him the gift of salvation. The ODB author writes: At a winter retreat in northern New England, one of the men asked the question, “What was your favorite Christmas gift ever?” 
One athletic man seemed eager to answer. “That’s easy,” he said, glancing at his friend next to him. “A few years back, I finished college thinking I was a sure bet to play professional football. When it didn’t happen, I was angry. Bitterness ate at me, and I shared that bitterness with anyone who tried to help me.” 

Fellow Christian, … you can use the link to the entire ODB devotional below in the "Blogger Note" addendum to read the rest of the story of this man letting God’s gift of salvation heal him of his bitterness. And it brings up the issue of what we give to others, especially skeptics or unbelievers, at Christmas - or anytime - when they question our faith.

Peter preached (see 1st Peter 3:15 above) that we should always be ready to give an answer for our faith. So, … what do we tell a lost loved-one or acquaintance when they come to us with questions about our faith? Well, Big Daddy Weave yields an answer to that in the song linked above; because the best answer we can give to one questioning our faith is to tell them our story, … our story of being formed or reformed by Christ.

My friend, no one can argue with a testimony. The skeptic can argue with Bible proclamations or even the strong evidence for Christ; but he/she can’t argue with my story. My story is MY STORY; and no one can argue with it’s truth. Now the unbeliever may continue to resist the truth of Christ in my life; but he/she will never be able to take away the gift you give them - maybe even this Advent Season - with your story.

So, if God gives us the appointed opportunity to answer some skeptic this Christmas - or into the New Year - let’s confidently tell them how Jesus is shaping or reshaping our life into His image. And then wish them a “very Merry Christmas or a Happy New Year!”

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, please give me the anointed opportunity - maybe even today - to share my story with someone for Christmas or in the New Year. ... 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, December 21, 2016

December 21, 2016 ... God’s Child Care

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 356

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from the group Avalon singing their song… No Orphans of God … poignantly singing the reality of God’s love for ALL of His children …


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Highlight Verse[s]: Exodus 2:10 [NKJV] … 
10 And the child [Moses] grew, and [his mother] brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.” 
… Moses’ desperate mother was willing to give up her child to save his life and to let God raise him for God’s glory.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Exodus 1:22 - 2:10 … USE THIS LINK
… The story of Moses’ birth and destiny to be raised as a prince in Egypt.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Proverbs 27:10 … 
10 When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me. 
… God has a plan for all His children.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Luke 2:1-7 … USE THIS LINK
… God gave His own Son to mankind to raise for our salvation and His glory.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Tim Gustafson, used a very personal story to illustrate the lengths God will go thru to raise His children to their salvation and His glory. The ODB author writes: A baby just hours old was left in a manger in a Christmas nativity outside a New York church. A young, desperate mother had wrapped him warmly and placed him where he would be discovered. If we are tempted to judge her, we can instead be thankful this baby will now have a chance in life. 
This gets personal for me. As an adopted child myself, I have no idea about the circumstances surrounding my birth. But I have never felt abandoned. Of this much I am certain: I have two moms who wanted me to have a chance in life. One gave life to me; the other invested her life in me. 

And in Exodus (highlight passage) we read of the desperation of Moses’ mother to cast him in a basket onto the Nile [see photo], giving him to over God’s care to be raised as a prince of Egypt. And then the ultimate story of parental sacrifice as we read in Luke 2 of God giving His own Son into the hands of Mary & Joseph to raise His Boy, Jesus, to die for the sins of mankind.

Perhaps, in this time of the year, we should recognize that God has a plan for all of His children; and His plan often calls for great sacrifice on the part of parents or those who care for orphaned children. And today’s journal has caused me to be so thankful for the care my parents gave to my sister and me.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Thank You, God, for Your watchcase over 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, December 20, 2016

December 20, 2016 ... Joy, Joy, Joy!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 355

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Chris Tomlin singing a contemporary arrangement of the classic Advent Carol … Joy to the World … poignantly and JOYFULLY singing of the joy which we should share everyday reflecting the joy of Jesus coming into our lives to save mankind. … And THEN USE THIS LINK to hear children singing of the joy we Christians should have in our hearts … and if you can’t be joyful hearing these kids sing so joyfully, you need to go deeper into your relationship with Christ to let Him give you His joy.


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Highlight Verse[s]: John 16:22 [NKJV] … 
22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. … " 
… Jesus promises joy in the midst of a scary, confusing time for His Disciples.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 16:16-24 … USE THIS LINK
… In the midst of a fearful/sorrowful moment, Jesus promises joy to come.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Luke 2:10 … 
10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 
 … Jesus on how we, as His disciples, must love others, even our enemies, just as He loved us.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Julie Ackerman Link, illustrates her teaching about extending God’s joy to others with a story of a mission teacher. The ODB author writes: When Janet went to teach English in a school overseas, she found the atmosphere gloomy and depressing. People did their jobs, but no one seemed happy. They didn't help or encourage one another. But Janet, grateful for all that God had done for her, expressed it in everything she did. She smiled. She was friendly. She went out of her way to help people. She hummed songs and hymns. 
Little by little, as Janet shared her joy, the atmosphere at the school changed. One by one people began to smile and help each other. When a visiting administrator asked the principal why his school was so different, the principal, who was not a believer, responded, “Jesus brings joy.” Janet was filled to overflowing with the joy of the Lord and it spilled over to those around her. 

Hey Christian [!] … are we joyful - especially in this Advent season - that Jesus came into this world, which is so riddled with darkness and pain to bring us His unfathomable joy? If we’re not, we should be; because JOY IS A CHOCE! And if we Christians can’t share some joy in this world, who will? 

Please take the time to take in today’s linked - and joy-filled - songs; and then meditate on the Scriptures provided. Then, … let’s all go out today and share some smiles and reflections of Christ’s joy with others. Let’s choose JOY to lift up the world today!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Show me someone today whom I can share a little of Your light and joy, … perhaps merely with a joyful smile reflecting Your love. ... Amen

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

Monday, December 19, 2016

December 19, 2016 ... Love Our Enemies! … Really?!!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 354

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Steve Green singing … People Need the Lord … poignantly singing a reality we cannot dismiss with our feelings of anger or price … that so many people need the Lord!


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Highlight Verse[s]: Jonah 4:4 [NKJV] …  
4 Then the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 
… God challenges Jonah’s unrepentant anger at God’s mercy and grace.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Jonah 3:1-4:11 … USE THIS LINK
… Jonah’s pride and anger consume his consciousness.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Matthew 5:43-44 … 
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. ..."
… Jesus on how we, as His disciples, must love others, even our enemies, just as He loved us.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … 2nd Corinthians 5:18-19 … USE THIS LINK
… God has reconciled us to Himself through His Son’s sacrifice; and He expects us to carry on His ministry of reconciliation to all mankind, … yes, even our enemies.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Mart DeHaan, illustrates his teaching about extending God’s forgiveness and love to our enemies with a story about a Korean Christian during the Korean conflict. The ODB author writes: When war broke out in 1950, fifteen-year-old Kim Chin-Kyung joined the South Korean army to defend his homeland. He soon found, however, that he wasn’t ready for the horrors of combat. As young friends died around him, he begged God for his life and promised that, if allowed to live, he would learn to love his enemies. 
Sixty-five years later, Dr. Kim reflected on that answered prayer. Through decades of caring for orphans and assisting in the education of North Korean and Chinese young people, he has won many friends among those he once regarded as enemies. Today he shuns political labels. Instead he calls himself a “loveist" as an expression of his faith in Jesus. 

And then my ODB author, Mart DeHaan, reminds his readers (me) of how the Prophet Jonah had so much trouble setting aside his pride/anger at the historically evil people from Nineveh, refusing to honor God’s mercy/grace in saving these enemies of God’s chosen ones [see highlight passage]. And immediately I couldn’t help thinking of how so many Christians today hold on to hatred and anger at groups like ISIS or local street gangs in our day, refusing to pray for reconciliation and repentance from these people so that they might be saved as did God for those in Nineveh in Jonah’s day. And “… [OUCH!] …” I’m filled with conviction for my “Jonahvite” attitude.

Yes, … it hurts;… and how I need to take stock of my attitude and prayer for those who spitefully attack Christians in this world. And I need to be praying for them to see God’s light/love and repent to receive His saving grace; … just as Steve Green sings in today’s linked song above.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Yes, Lord, so many who spitefully revile You need Your saving grace. Help me to pray for them today and all days as You have commanded in 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.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

December 18, 2016 ... Jesus Is ______

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 353

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from children singing of Whom they worship … Fairest Lord Jesus … poignantly singing of Who we worship as Lord and Savior … KING JESUS! … And THEN ON TO THIS LINK with Matt Maher singing that Jesus is his EVERYTHING.



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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 16:15 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK … 
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
… Jesus poses THE question to His disciples.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 16:13-17 … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus asks the most important question anyone will ever answer in his/her life.
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My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Bill Crowder, uses an example of Albert Einstein’s recognition of Christ’s greatness in asking readers to declare Whom Jesus is to us. The ODB author writes: In a 1929 Saturday Evening Post interview, Albert Einstein said, “As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene. . . . No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.” 
The New Testament Scriptures give us other examples of Jesus’s countrymen who sensed there was something special about Him. … Jesus asked His followers, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” … He was searching their understanding and looking for faith. So He asked a second question: “But what about you? . . . Who do you say I am?” (Matt. 16:15). 

And Jesus’ latter question, “Who do you say I am?” … rings through eternity as the most important question any of us will ever answer in our life time. It is the “Jesus Is _______” declaration.

So let me give my answer(s). To me … Jesus is my LORD! … He is my Savior. … And, as Matt Maher sings, … He is my EVERYTHING!!

So, if Jesus were to ask you His question, … how would you answer?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, You are my everything; … so, help me to live like it today and always. ... 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, December 17, 2016

December 17, 2016 ... I’m Covered!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 352

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Morgan Cryar singing his song … What Sin? … poignantly singing of how God sees his children who’re covered by the blood of His Son, King Jesus, … the Lamb of God.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Romans 3:24-25 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK … 
24 … being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, … 
… Our righteous comes only from Christ shedding His blood as the lamb of God.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Romans 3:21-26 … USE THIS LINK
… Paul explains the essence of righteousness by which Christians are spared God’s wrath thru our faith in the atoning grace of God from the covering of blood shed by His Son, Jesus. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Psalm 32:1 … 
1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, … whose sin is covered. 
… King David expresses he heart-felt gratitude for God covering and forgiving his sin with Bathsheba.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … 2nd Corinthians 5:16-21 … USE THIS LINK
… Paul explains that by our faith in the atoning grace of Christ’s blood sacrifice, we find our sins covered by Christ’s righteousness … FOREVER … !!!

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Anne Cetas, teaches on a difficult concept for many to grasp in the context of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. The ODB author writes: When talking about faith in Jesus, we sometimes use words without understanding or explaining them. One of those words is “righteous.” We say that God has righteousness and that He makes people righteous, but this can be a tough concept to grasp. The way the word righteousness is pictured in the Chinese language is helpful. It is a combination of two characters. [see attached photo] The top word is lamb. The bottom word is me. The lamb covers or is above the person. 

And that’s what the Apostle Paul was trying to clarify for Christians in his brilliant treatise on faith in today’s highlight and reference passages in Romans 3:21-26 and 2Cor. 5:20-21. And achieving righteousness to stand before God in my rags of sin, I can come, because I believe in my heart that my Lord shed his blood as the Lamb of God, and be covered in HIS robes of righteousness.

And so, … when I come to pray to my God each day in this place, my God doesn’t see a sinner clad with the rags of sin. No, … He sees only one of His children, who, thru my faith in what His Son did for me as His spotless lamb, … is covered by His Son’s robes of righteousness. And wearing those robes, covering my sin rags, I can come into His presence to plead my needs … by the blood shed by the Lamb of God.

Dear fellow Christian, take note of the wondrous Chinese symbol for “righteousness;” [again see photo and link below] and in this Advent Season, join me in deep thankfulness that we’re covered by the blood of the Lamb of God.

PS: USE THIS LINK  to take in more explanation about the Chinese symbol for the word “righteousness” in the attached photo.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, You’ve got me covered by Your blood; and today - and all days - I can, in faith, wear Your robes of righteousness to cover my rags of sin. … HALLELUJAH! ... 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, December 16, 2016

December 16, 2016 ... Taking God’s Medicine

 Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 351

 Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images a from the group Unspoken singing their song … Call It Grace … poignantly singing of God’s grace, which often has to be consumed like bitter medicine.


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Highlight Verse: Jeremiah 7:2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK … 
2 “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the Lord!’” 
… When we enter into God’s House of Worship we are to do so living in accord with His commandments.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Jeremiah 7:1-11 … USE THIS LINK
… God thru the Prophet Jeremiah rebukes His children to live according to His commandments. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … John 14:21 … 
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 makes it clear to whom He will manifest Himself … only to those whose heartfelt desire is keep His commandments.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Hebrews 12: 3-7 … USE THIS LINK
… God is our Heavenly Father; and He will deal with His children as a father who loves his kids and chastens them as they need it.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Lawrence Darmani, refers to the words of the Prophet Jeremiah in teaching on living true to God’s will and His word. The ODB author writes: Jeremiah of old quizzed the people, “Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury . . . follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, ‘We are safe’—safe to do all these detestable things?” (7:9–10).  
… Like a bitter herb that heals malaria, his words were spiritually curative. When we hear hard words [of truth], instead of walking away, may we respond to their healing effect. 

When you were a child, did you ever have to take medicine, doled out by a loving parent, which was bitter [see photo] … but was exactly what you needed for healing your ills? Well, quite often we hear a sermon, or take in God’s truth from His word, or hear a bitter rebuke from a friend, which we know, in our hearts, is needed but it’s bitter medicine at the time we take it in?

Do I sense a clear “Amen” from many reading here with me.

At times I most certainly have needed what the Prophet Jeremiah was called on to dole out in prophetic medicine to God’s children [see highlight passage]. They needed to hear of their hypocrisy and selfishness; and God gave them their bitter medicine of truth thru Jeremiah. And when we’re truly surrendered to Him, He will often have to do that for us as well.

So, if any reading here with me need to be cleansed or healed by some contrite confession [see the truth of 1John 1:9 or James 5:16], I pray we will take our healing medicine, no matter how bitter it is, to glorify the Loving Father Who gives it to us.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, give me my dose of Your love medicine today, no matter how bitter it may taste. ... 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, December 15, 2016

December 15, 2016 ... Face-to-Face In Glory

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 350

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images a from Gordon Mote singing his song … Don’t Let Me Miss the Glory … joyfully singing of the glimpses of glory God gives us as we head home to the ultimate glory we will experience when we see our Lord face-to-face.


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Highlight Verse: 2nd Corinthians 5:6-8 [NKJV] …  
6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 
… Our faith gives us confidence that our journey here on earth will take us home to be with the Lord forever.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18 … USE THIS LINK
… God assures Christians, thru Paul, that He will have all of His Bride with Him in glory. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Revelation 22:3-5 … USE THIS LINK
… Truth, thru John, as to where we’re headed as Christians. But … do we believe it? … Those who do, will see God face-to-face in glory.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David Roper, uses an illustrative story to teach on Christians holding on, in faith, to one day be face-to-face with our Lord. The ODB author writes: Henry Durbanville, a Scottish pastor from another era, told the story of an elderly woman in his parish who lived in a remote part of Scotland. She longed to see the city of Edinburgh, but she was afraid to take the journey because of the long, dark tunnel through which the train had to pass to get there. 
One day, however, circumstances compelled her to go to Edinburgh, and as the train sped toward the city, her agitation increased. But before the train reached the tunnel, the woman, worn out with worry, fell fast asleep. When she awoke she had already arrived in the city! 

An interesting story picture of us Christians, isn’t it? All too often we have imaginary fears which hold us back from even seeing God’s glory here on earth; … as Gordon Mote so poignantly wishes - in song - not to miss (see song linked above). But the important faith lesson here is that we don’t miss God’s message from His Holy Word that one day in this life we, born-again Christians, will fall asleep forever; and we’ll be in God’s presence, seeing Him face-to-face (see Scriptures above, especially the Revelation 22 passage).

So, dear one, let’s not miss what God wants us to see of His glory in this life to build our faith in that we are being prepared to be with our Lord and see Him face-to-face in glory.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … show me, Lord, glimpses of Your glory to open my eyes to what lies ahead with You in heaven. ... 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, December 14, 2016

December 14, 2016 ... Lighting Our Lives

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 349

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Matt Redman singing … Light of the World … joyfully singing of the light of the world shining forth from the hearts of Christians who’ve come out of the darkness into Christ’s light of truth/love.


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Highlight Verse: 1st John 2:8b-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… The question as a test of our salvation is … “Is the light of truth/love burning in us?” 
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st John 2:3-11 … USE THIS LINK
… John teaches on a test of knowing God and being born again.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … John 13:34-35 … USE THIS LINK
… Christ’s law of love, which burns as a light of faith in the hearts of all true born-again believers.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : ... 1st John 1:5 … 
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 
… Pop Quiz: Does God’s light burn and shine within us? If so, we are assured of our salvation.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, uses a personalized word picture to teach about the light of love which shines forth from the hearts of all truly born-again Christians. The ODB author writes: It was a dark morning. Low, steel-colored clouds filled the sky, and the atmosphere was so dim that I needed to turn on the lights in order to read a book. I had just settled in when the room suddenly filled with light. I looked up and saw that the wind was pushing the clouds to the east, clearing the sky and revealing the sun [see photo]. 
As I went to the window to get a better look at the drama, a [biblical passage] came to mind: “The darkness is passing and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8). 

Today’s highlight and reference Scriptures come from the Apostle John’s writings; and John wrote his first letter to burdened/suffering Christians in his day to help them have deep/abiding assurance of their salvation (see 1John 5:13 in your own study). Well, ... one of God’s tests of our salvation thru John concerns how well Christ’s law of love (see John 13:34-35) shines forth in our lives, dispelling the darkness of hatred which we see so much of in this ever-darkening world.

John wasn’t writing that we Christians wouldn’t ever sin with prideful or sinful anger in our hearts toward others. No, he was teaching that Christians couldn’t hold that darkness in our hearts continually because Christ’s love will ultimately shine forth and help us to dispel the hatred and show forth His light of love.

 And as I read this ODB today, I had to ask myself, … “Am I shining the light of Christ, by dispelling any hatred in my heart and moving toward repentance and reconciliation in my remorse for any sinful anger.” I think we all need to take that test today; and see whether the light of Christ shines forth to dispel any darkness in our souls.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … show me, Lord, if I have any darkness in my heart and shine Your light forth - thru me - to let others see Your love dispelling the darkness. ... 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, December 13, 2016

December 13, 2016 ... God’s Bestest News!!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 348

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from a children’s chorus singing the old Christmas carol … Go Tell It On the Mountain … joyfully singing of the reality of God’s best news … that Jesus Christ is born!


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Highlight Verse: Nahum 1:15 [NKJV] …  
15 Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace! O Judah, keep your appointed feasts, perform your vows. For the wicked one shall no more pass through. He is utterly cut off. 
… The prophesy of the coming Messiah, Who will bring peace and cut off Satan.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Nahum 1:7-15 … USE THIS LINK
… God’s prophesy of the coming of the Lion of Judah Who will cut off Satan forever. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : ... Isaiah 53:7 … 
7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, … who brings glad tidings of good thing, … who proclaims salvation, … who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” 
… The good news is come; and He is Jesus!

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Luke 2:10-11 … USE THIS LINK
… The Good News of Jesus’ birth … the best news God’s people had ever heard.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David McCasland, uses reality to teach about THE GOOD NEWS, … God’s best news, … the coming of His Son to save mankind. The ODB author writes: World news bombards us from the Internet, television, radio, and mobile devices. The majority seems to describe what’s wrong—crime, terrorism, war, and economic problems. Yet there are times when good news invades the darkest hours of sadness and despair—stories of unselfish acts, a medical breakthrough, or steps toward peace in war-scarred places. 

It is true. The evening news each night is permeated by bad news; but the network TV newscasts always plant one “good news” story as the last thing broadcast each night, … a story, as our ODB author touts … of peace, good tidings, and good will.

And that’s what the Prophets Nahum and Isaiah were bringing to God’s people, after they had experienced God allowing them to suffer in their ill-begotten selfishness and sin. Then, … the prophets (see scripture passages above) proclaimed the coming of God’s GOOD NEWS; and that good news would come so joyously in the Person of a Babe in a manger as the Angels proclaimed to the shepherds near Bethlehem the night Jesus was born (see Luke 2:10-11.

So, now it is our charge to “Go tell it on the mountain,” as the old Christmas carol sings. And so, … let us do just that … to everyone who will hear it … maybe even during this joyous time of year.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … help me, Lord, to proclaim Your Good News to those who will hear and receive You’re saving grace in faith. ... Amen

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

Monday, December 12, 2016

December 12, 2016 ... Self or Savior?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 347

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Dennis Jernigan, singing his song … Who Can Satisfy … powerfully singing of the reality, especially pertinent at this time of year, that only Jesus can fill the hole of desire in our hearts.


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Highlight Verse: 1st Kings 18:37 [NKJV] …  
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. 
… Jesus declares a difficult truth for mankind, especially with our human default to selfishness. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 6:24-34 … USE THIS LINK
… In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches about kingdom values where those who follow Him must not try to serve God and money.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : ... Psalm 23: 1 … 
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
… Our Lord, our Good Shepherd, is the only one who can satisfy our wants.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Ephesians 3:20 … 
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, … 
… Paul shows true believers that our Lord can/will do all He can to satisfy our longings and give us far more than we could ever imagine.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Tim Gustafson, teaches a very pertinent lesson for this time of year where we’re surrounded by so much commercial temptation, taking our focus off of Jesus. He writes: Early in my career while doing work that I saw as more of a mission than a job, another company offered me a position that would give a significant increase in pay. Our family could surely have benefited financially from such a move. There was one problem. I hadn’t been looking for another job because I loved my current role, which was growing into a calling. 
But the money . . . 

Yeah, … “But the money!” It seems that so often, especially in this very commercial time of the year, the bottom line points to THE MONEY, doesn’t it?

And that’s why Jesus’ teaching on this matter in His sermon on the mount is so tough for us (see the highlight passage above). And the attached photo probably all too often depicts where our pursuits are pictured during the Advent season.

But Dennis Jernigan, in today’s linked song, clearly sings that there is only ONE Who can satisfy that hole of longing that God planted into the heart of all mankind; … and money just won’t do it, will it? … NO, only Jesus can satisfy us; and so, during these days where we celebrate the birth of THE One Who satisfies, let us turn away from our human desires and focus on our Savior, letting Him satisfy our hearts and our longings.

My Prayer Today: Lord, only You can satisfy my longings. ... 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, December 11, 2016

December 11, 2016 ... God Works Thru Prayer

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 346

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Jaci Velasquez, singing Dennis Jernigan’s song … On My Knees … longingly and lovingly singing of the power invoked when we get on our knees in surrender to King Jesus.


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Highlight Verse: 1st Kings 18:37 [NKJV] …  
37 Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” 
… Elijah’s prayer to God for Him to show Himself …
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st Kings 18:36-46 … USE THIS LINK
… Elijah prays for God to reveal Himself to the Godless Ahab and his court; and rain came forth after years of drought.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : ... John 15:7 … 
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 
… Jesus on the effectiveness of prayer from an abiding and surrendered servant.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : ... James 5:16-18 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… James makes reference to the mighty and wondrous power in prayer by citing Elijah’s prayer.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, James Banks, makes reference to the miraculous story of Elijah praying and God bringing rain after years of drought to illustrate how God often works. He writes: God often chooses to move through our prayers to accomplish His work. We see this when God told the prophet Elijah, “I will send rain on the land,” promising to end a drought in Israel that had lasted three and a half years (James 5:17). … Elijah understood that God wants us to join in His work through humble, persistent prayer. Regardless of our human limitations, God may choose to move through our praying in amazing ways. That’s why the letter of James tells us that “the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results,” all the while reminding us that “Elijah was as human as we are” (James 5:16–17 nlt). 

If it is truth and God will often reveal Himself when we pray, why then don’t we do all we can to follow what Jesus said about prayer to His disciples (see John 15:7)? Should we not be trying to abide in Christ more diligently and bring our adoration, confession, thankfulness, and supplications (that’s the “ACTS” of prayer) to our Lord as righteously and intently and as often as we can?

The Apostle Paul taught fellow Christians that prayer, offered to God with a humble/thankful heart, was God’s prescription of peace for our anxieties (look up Phil. 4:6-7); so, are you as convicted about our puny prayer practices as I am?

My fellow Christian, it’s easy to see why Satan will do all he can to keep us diverted from our prayer life. So, let’s do more - even today - to prioritize the time/effort we spend in prayer, knowing that this will be time well invested for God’s glory.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, this is my time with/for You. And I’m here to follow You with my prayers. ... 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.