Tuesday, February 23, 2016

February 23, 2016: Up A Tree

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 54  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Sandi Patty and Larnelle Harris singing I’ve Just Seen Jesus… gloriously declaring the joy of pursuing and seeing Jesus in our lives.

Highlight Passage:  Luke 19:2-3 [NKJV] …  
4 So he [Zacchaeus] ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him [Jesus], for He was going to pass that way. 
… Zacchaeus doing what it takes to see Jesus
Highlight Context – Luke 19: 1-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Zacchaeus desired desperately to see Jesus.

Reference Passage #1 - John 6:66-69 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… When challenged by Jesus, the Disciples had to choose Whom they would follow.

Reference Passage #2 - Hebrews 11:6 [NKJV] …
  6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 
… Pursuing Christ in faith will be rewarded for those, like Zacchaeus, who diligently pursue seeing Him for Whom He really is.

Reference Passage #3 - 1st Peter 5:5-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
 … Humility is the tree we must climb to see fully see and follow Jesus.

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, told a personal story to highlight her teaching. She wrote: As a child, I loved to climb trees. The higher I climbed, the more I could see. Occasionally, in search of a better view, I might inch out along a branch until I felt it bend under my weight. Not surprisingly, my tree-climbing days are over. I suppose it isn’t very safe—or dignified. 

Schuldt’s primary teaching Scripture today came from the account of the hated tax-collector, Zacchaeus (in Luke 19, linked above), who desperately desired to see Jesus walking into his hometown of Jericho. So, being short of stature, he climbed a tree to see the Lord passing by. And Jesus noted him in the tree, and knowing his heart, invited Zaccheaus to come down and dine with Him; and from Zaccheaus’ sincere pursuit, in faith, he was saved that day.

 BTW, … I’ve seen that tree in Jericho (see attached photo). And according to archeo-biologists, that 2000+ year old Sycamore tree, which is still standing on the only road Jesus would have taken into Jericho that day, is very likely the very tree Zaccheaus claimed to climb to get a view of Jesus.

 And when I saw the tree on my only trip to the Holy Land, I was taken by the mental image of that little sinner, climbing up that tree to get one desperate look at Jesus. And it caused me ask myself, … what have I done in my life to do what Larnelle Harris and Sandi Patty sing about in the linked song today … to see and seek Jesus?

 Really, … I would declare to you that my being here this morning is Bill Berry, climbing up into a tree of life to get one little glimpse of the glory of my Lord through my prayer and pursuit of Him in Scripture. And each morning that I climb up in this tree of devotion, He shows up and invites me to get closer to Him … just as I feel His presence here this morning.

 My friend, what is standing in the way you seeing Jesus today? Is it pride or the pursuit of power or pleasure? God’s word declares that when we humble ourselves in diligently pursuing Him, … that He will reward our pursuits with His presence and His grace [see Heb. 11:6 and 1st Pet. 5:5-7].

 So, what tree can we climb today to see Jesus?

My Prayer Today:  Heavenly Father, … The view from this tree is great; and I can see You clearly 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.

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