Sunday, July 31, 2016

July 31, 2016: Paid In Full

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 213

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of a contemporary arrangement of the old hymn… Jesus Paid It All, poignantly declaring the reality of Jesus paying our admission fee to heaven - COMPLETELY.


Highlight Passage:  Romans 3:23-24 [NKJV] …
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, … 
… He paid it all to cover our sin debt!
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Highlight Context – Romans 3:21-26 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
“It is finished!” … Jesus paid our sin debt … COMPLETELY!!
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Reference Passage #1 … John 19:28-30 [ NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
… Mankind’s sin debt PAID IN FULL - forevermore!!

Reference Passage #2 … 1st John 2:2, 4:10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… “Propitiation” is God’s payment for our sin debt on the cross … It is PAID IN FULL!!!

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland used a very clear word picture to explain how Jesus paid it all on the cross to cover our sin debt. He wrote: Every year some two million people from all over the world visit St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. It is well worth the admission fee to experience the magnificent structure designed and built by Sir Christopher Wren during the late 17th century. But tourism is secondary at this place of Christian worship. A primary mission of the cathedral is “to enable people in all their diversity to encounter the transforming presence of God in Jesus Christ.” If you want to tour the building and admire the architecture, you must pay an admission fee. But there is no charge to enter and attend any of the daily worship services at St. Paul’s.   

As the song proclaims truth today, … Jesus Paid It All!! ... Yes, He did!! … When He said “It is finished!” on the cross [see John 19 linked above], His death became the “propitiation” for our sin debt. So, my admission fee to heaven has been PAID IN FULL by my faith in His finished work … PAID … COMPLETELY &FOREVER!! … and that’s His AMAZING GRACE!!

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord Jesus, though I didn’t deserve it, … thank You for paying my debt in full.  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, July 30, 2016

July 30, 2016: God’s Promise for the Faithful

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 212

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Steve Green singing … Find Us Faithful, poignantly declaring the heritage of faithfulness in all those who paved the way to Christ by their faith; … and may the faithful of today pave the way for others to receive Christ’s promise.


Highlight Passage:  Hebrews 11:6, 39  [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK … 
 
… Faith is no magical formula to wealth and happiness … 
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Highlight Context – Hebrews 10:32-11:39 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Those who lived by faith lived for the promise of God, never having received it.
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Reference Passage #1 … Lamentations 3:22-23 [ NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Forever God is Faithful

Reference Passage #2 … Hebrews 13:5 [NKJV] …
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” [Deut. 31:6,8] 
… God will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER forsake His beloved remnant of believers.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Philip Yancey, pointed to a troubling religious trend in our world today as he wrote: It’s tempting to think of faith as a kind of magic formula. If you muster up enough of it, you’ll get rich, stay healthy, and live a contented life with automatic answers to all your prayers. But life does not work according to such neat formulas. As proof, the author of Hebrews presents a stirring reminder of what constitutes “true faith” by reviewing the lives of some Old Testament giants of faith (Hebrews, Chapter 11). 

There are many false teachers/preachers out there these days, many of whom claim to be “christian” and teach that the words we speak// have the power of faith to produce health, wealth, and happiness. This so-called “word of faith” teaching lulls people into thinking that we produce the power of faith by claiming our world by some magical formula of faith.

But Philip Yancey, in today’s ODB entry, repudiates these teachings, pointing out that none of the “giants of faith,” listed in the “Hall of the Faithful” in Chapter 11 of Hebrews, no matter how great their faith, received the promise of God [see verse 39]. Yes, they will one day; and their faith will be rewarded by their Messiah in Heaven; but none of them, even a giant of faith like Abraham, ever achieved God’s ultimate promise in their lifetime.

And none of God’s faithful will achieve health, wealth, and happiness by claiming to be God’s faithful in their lifetime on earth now. Our faith does produce justification, just as it did for Abraham and the other giants of faith in Hebrews 11; but faith does not come from our mouths by claiming to be faithful. It only comes by faith in the one Who died to give us His promise of glory … and that is Jesus!

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord, You are the promise for the faithful.  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, July 29, 2016

July 29, 2016: Love Wraps It All Up

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 211

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a repeated You Tube video this month of Bert Bacharach’s 1960s classic … What The World Needs Now Is Love, poignantly repeating a song choice posted earlier this month and one that is desperately needed in our world right now.


Highlight Passage:  Romans 13:8 [NKJV] …
8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 
… Loving others is the summary of God’s Law.
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Highlight Context – Romans 13:8-11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul to Christians … on LOVE being the summary of the whole Law of God.
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Reference Passage #1 … Luke 10:25-28 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus says that loving our neighbors is fulfilling God’s law.

Reference Passage #2 … Galatians 5:14 [NKJV] …
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” [Lev. 19:18]
… Paul expounded on the truth summarized by love in God’s Law.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Mart DeHaan, used the story from an anthropologist to remind readers (me) of God’s love and our obligation to love others. DeHaan wrote… An anthropologist was winding up several months of research in a small village, the story is told. While waiting for a ride to the airport for his return flight home, he decided to pass the time by making up a game for some children. 
His idea was to create a race for a basket of fruit and candy that he placed near a tree. But when he gave the signal to run, no one made a dash for the finish line. Instead the children joined hands and ran together to the tree. When asked why they chose to run as a group rather than each racing for the prize, a little girl spoke up and said: “How could one of us be happy when all of the others are sad?” Because these children cared about each other, they wanted all to share the basket of fruit and candy. 

And I don’t think I would get much disagreement that what Paul is summarizing here [see the Romans and Galatians passages above] is about Christ relating that our loving our “neighbor” (i.e., who is everyone!!) is the fulfillment of God’s Law. So, … given what has transpired recently in our world, do you agree with me that we need exactly what Jesus taught and Bert Bacharach wrote about in his classic song linked above?

So, let’s go out that lay some of Jesus’ love on someone today. Hug someone; and tell them that you love them; … but also tell them that Jesus loves them even more!!

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord, let me share Your love with someone today.  Amen  

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

Thursday, July 28, 2016

July 28, 2016: Our “BFF”

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 210

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sining… Friend of a Wounded Heart, poignantly expressing reality of Jesus … the forever friend of any who’re willing to follow Him into Heaven.


Highlight Passage:  James 2:23 [NKJV] …
23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” [Gen. 15:6] And he was called the friend of God. 
 … Abraham … justified by his faith to be God’s “friend.”
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Highlight Context – James 2:18-26 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Walking with our BEST FRIEND - FOREVER!!
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Reference Passage #1 … John 15:11-15 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus calls those who follow Him, “FRIENDS”

Reference Passage #2 … Hebrews 13:5 [NKJV] …
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” [Deut. 31:6,8]
… God’s promise for his “friends.”

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Joe Stowell, taught today on the ultimate “BFF” … Jesus, our “best friend forever.” In a very personal way, Stowell wrote of advice from his dad … One of the pieces of wisdom I have come to appreciate is my dad’s often-repeated statement, “Joe, good friends are one of life’s greatest treasures.” … How true! … With good friends, you are never alone. They’re attentive to your needs and gladly share life’s joys and burdens. 

And fellow Christian, do you know and have recognized Whom we have as our eternal “BFF.” It’s none other than our Lord and Savior, … KING JESUS! 

And after you take in the uplifting song link above, the attached photo, and the Scriptures above, … please join me in thanking our King and Friend, Jesus, for saving us to be His friend forever.

 … I don’t think I need to say any more, do I?

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord, thank you for being my BFF!!  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, July 27, 2016

July 27, 2016: Vulnerability Is Risky

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 209  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Mia Fieldes singing … Fearless, poignantly singing how we should be in God’s presence … fearless … and willing to be vulnerable to share His love with others.

 
Highlight Passage:  Ephesians 4:1-2 [NKJV] …  
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, …
… To truly BE Christians we must be willing to reach out with vulnerability and help others. 
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Highlight Context – Ephesians 4:1-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul’s exhortation for Christians to walk strong in their calling, being willing to help others. 
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Reference Passage #1 … Philippians 2:3-5 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul exhorted fellow Christians (you/me too) to be like Christ … willing to be open and vulnerable, helping others whenever we can.

Reference Passage #2 … 1st Thessalonians 5:11-19 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul challenged his friends in Thessalonica (and others) to open themselves up and live as Christ would live.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Cindy Kasper, used an illustrative story to teach on vulnerability. She wrote: As I ventured out several weeks after shoulder surgery, I was fearful. I had become comfortable using my arm sling, but both my surgeon and physical therapist now told me to stop wearing it. That’s when I saw this statement: “At this stage, sling wear is discouraged except as a visible sign of vulnerability in an uncontrolled environment.” Ah, that was it! I feared the enthusiastic person who might give me a bear hug or the unaware friend who might bump me accidentally. I was hiding behind my flimsy baby-blue sling because I feared being hurt.

Yes, the OBD story does illustrate the riskiness of being vulnerable, open, honest, and willing to open up to others. When we take off the sling, especially after an injury, and get out there, with vulnerability, being willing to hug and be hugged, there is the risk of injury for sure. But according to the Apostle Paul, the risk is worth it for us [see Scriptures above] … to live in Christ as Mia Fieldes sings in the linked song … “FEARLESS!”

It’s only when we live in/for Christ, as He lived (and died) for us, that we can truly be Him to others. And that takes vulnerability. So, what about today, my friends; … are we willing to take off the sling and go out and hug someone who needs a hug today? … I hope so!!

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Thank You, Lord, for helping me to share my story with others who need to hear that they are not alone in their weakness.  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, July 26, 2016

July 26, 2016: Sandpaper For The Soul

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 208  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from the group Unspoken singing … Call It Grace, which I use once again [see blog from 7/24/16] to shout the love which comes from God’s grace, … which, all too often, can come from dear friends who love us enough to honestly share God’s truth with us.


Highlight Passage:  Proverbs 27:17 [NKJV] …  
17 As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of a friend. 
… Often it is the honest words of a good friend which helps to round out our character. 
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Highlight Context – Proverbs 27:5-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Solomon’s wisdom on how relationships can be God’s sandpaper to smooth out our character for His glory.
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Reference Passage #1 … Ephesians 4:29 [NKJV] … 2
9 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 
 … Paul knew that our words of love of tough love can impart the grit of grace to help dear ones grow in the their relationship with Christ.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Amy Pye, spoke from her own experience about how a tough rebuke from a close friend caused her to serious look at herself; and she wrote:  My friend’s words stung. Trying to sleep, I battled to stop mulling over her pointed comments about my strong opinions. As I lay there, I asked for God’s wisdom and peace. Several weeks later, still concerned about the matter, I prayed, “I hurt, Lord, but show me where I need to change. Show me where she’s right.” 
My friend had acted as God’s sandpaper in my life. My feelings felt rubbed raw, but I sensed that how I responded would lead to the building of my character—or not. My choice was to submit to the smoothing process, confessing my pride and stubborn stance. I sensed that my bumps and imperfections didn’t glorify the Lord. 

Do you have friends who love you enough to tell us what we really need to hear … so that God can use their words as His sandpaper to smooth out our character and help us to be more like Christ? Paul did say, and I quoted him from Ephesians 4:29 in my blog a couple of days ago, that we should only speak forth words which either build up others or give them grace. And that’s true; … but sometimes words like that, when uttered with God’s love, can grind in the mind/heart of a loved one when he/she hears what they need to hear. That’s the way it was for the ODB author.

Perhaps you’ve had someone in your life who was willing to be the “iron sharpening Iron” agent from God to help you grow in Christlikeness. I have; and I’m so much more the better person for a dear friend who was willing to apply the grace of tough words so that I could hear what I needed to hear as God’s sandpaper to my character.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Thank You for using dear ones in my life to help shape me into Your image.  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, July 25, 2016

July 25, 2016: And The Game Goes On

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 207  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from the The Voice winner Jordan Smith singing the old hymn … Great is Thy Faithfulness, joyously declaring how God’s faithfulness always outweighs the tests that come our way in life.


Highlight Passage:  Psalm 35:17 [NKJV] …   1
7 Lord, how long will You look on? … Rescue me from their destruction … 
… Good advice … tough at times to put on this truth.
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Highlight Context – Psalm 35:17-28 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… David sings a prayer of trust in his faithful God to deliver him from the trials of his life. 
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Reference Passage #1 … Lamentations 3:22-23 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jeremiah faithfully declaring deliverance from the ever present mercy of a faithful God

Reference Passage #2 … 2nd Corinthians 12:9 [NKJV] … 9
 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
… Paul remembers Christ’s promise of God’s strength to cover his weakness.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, uses the illustration of how testing the game of cricket [see attached photo] can be before an outcome is realized. And I must agree with him that I’ve never been able to be attracted to Cricket, … the games (they call them “tests”) sometimes lasting for several days before a game, with a score in the hundreds, is resolved. But author crowder likens cricket to our life as he writes: The tests we face in life are sometimes intensified for a similar reason—they feel unending. The long search for a job, an unbroken season of loneliness, or a lengthy battle with cancer is made even more difficult by the fact that you wonder if it will ever end. 

Can I get a witness reading here? We’ve likely all been there and wore that t-shirt of impatience at some time[s] in our lives, haven’t we? Life can be as the anointed young king, David, wrote in Psalm 35 [see above] as he was trying to escape from the life-threatening trials imposed by Saul, which lasted over several years.

And sometimes I’m sure we’ve all been in a place where God seemed far away and our testing just seemed to go on interminably. But as Jordan Smith so elegantly sings from Lam. 3:22-23, our God is ever and always faithful; and as Jeremiah wrote in that passage, … His mercies are truly new every morning; and as Paul discovered in 2Cor.12:9 His strength is there to cover our weakness, … yes, even when the trials go on morning after morning after morning.

So, fellow Christian cricketeer, let’s play on and try to do all we can to win this game of life!!

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Help us to recognize that You are ever and always faithful, … desiring that we play out each trial in life for our growth and Your glory.  Amen    

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

Sunday, July 24, 2016

July 24, 2016: Say It With Grace

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 206  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from the group Unspoken singing … Call It Grace, declaring how we should speak to others … with and from God’s grace.

 Winter Horse Shoe

Highlight Passage:  Psalm 34:13 [NKJV] …   1
3 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. 
… Good advice … tough at times to put on this truth.
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Highlight Context – Psalm 34:11-18 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… David admonishes fellow believers to avoid casting fear on others by what we say.
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Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 18:1-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Solomon follows his father’s wisdom with his own words about our words.

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. 
… God, thru Paul, exhorts Christians to use our tongues gracefully to edify others.

Reference Passage #3 … James 3:1-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… What we say can have power way beyond the size of the tongue.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, from Singapore, C.P. Hia, uses an interesting historical reference to illustrate how overlooking a very small item, the right horseshoe [see attached photo], can produce disastrous outcomes. He wrote: Napoleon's defeat in Russia 200 years ago was attributed to the harsh Russian winter. One specific problem was that his horses were wearing summer horseshoes. When winter came, these horses died because they slipped on icy roads as they pulled the supply wagons. The failure of Napoleon’s supply chain reduced his 400,000-strong army to just 10,000. A small slip; a disastrous result! 

And I think most reading here with me have taken in the illustration Jesus’ brother, James, uses to warn Christians how one of the smallest organs in the body, … the tongue, … can wreak havoc on others by what we speak (see James 3:1-12 linked above). And the other wise authors of the Scripture passages above exhort us, as Christians, to speak only those words which either build up or give grace to our hearers (see especially Eph. 4:29).

 So, as we go forth today, let’s all make it our mission to say what God’s grace - and only HIS wisdom - lead us to say.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … I pray that I will share your love and grace but the words I speak to 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, July 23, 2016

July 23, 2016: Fear? … NO! … Freedom!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 205  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Nichole Nordeman singing … Finally Free, poignantly expressing the reality of breaking free from internally directed and self-captivating fear.


Highlight Passage:  Psalm 34:4 [NKJV] …  
4 I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from ALL my fears. 
… Good battle plan for life, don’tcha think?
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Highlight Context – Psalm 34:1-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… David learned how to break free from internally captivating fears.
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Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 23: 7 [NKJV] … 
3 As a man (or woman) thinks in his [or her] heart, so is he [or she]. 
… Fear can transform us by shackling us in our selves.

Reference Passage #2 … Isaiah 26:3 [NKJV] … 
3 You [LORD] will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
… Isaiah peace plan; … and being from God, … IT WORKS!!!

Reference Passage #3 … Philippians 4:6-7 [NKJV] … 
6 Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 
… God’s antidote for fear and anxiety.

Reference Passage #4 … 2nd Timothy 1:7 [NKJV] …  
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 
… Internally captivating fear does NOT come from God.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Keila Ochoa, relates a feeling all reading here probably have felt at one time or another. This native Mexican author wrote: Fear sneaks into my heart without permission. It paints a picture of helplessness and hopelessness. It steals my peace and my concentration. What am I fearful about? I’m concerned about the safety of my family or the health of loved ones. I panic at the loss of a job or a broken relationship. Fear turns my focus inward and reveals a heart that sometimes finds it hard to trust. 

Who hasn’t let our hearts be wrapped up or even captivated by internally-directed fears (see Proverbs 23:7)? As Solomon wrote [in Prov. 23:7] we become what we think; and when we allow fearful thoughts to shackle us, we become vulnerable to our spiritual enemies. But, … as Christians, we need to realize that God never gives us a spirit of fear [see 2nd Tim. 1:7]; … but as Paul wrote to a sometimes timid protege, God’s power and love are available to any Christian … to break the chains of fear as Nichole Nordeman so poignantly sings in the song linked above.

So, I pray that we all believe the prayer of King David [see Psalm 34:4] to seek and realize the deliverance from fear (i.e., freedom) that God has for any believer who trusts completely in King Jesus.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … I pray that all who’ve come here are in total surrender to You, O Lord, and are experiencing the freedom from fear which comers from your empowering grace.  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, July 22, 2016

July 22, 2016: Resting in Him … AGAIN

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 204  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of a worship service with the New Creation Church singing … My Rest in Jesus, poignantly expressing our need to get alone and rest in Our Lord.

 
Highlight Passage:  Mark 6:31-32 [NKJV] …  
31 And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32 So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. 
… Jesus’ inner Disciples needed some alone time to rest.
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Highlight Context – Mark 6:7-13, 30-32 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… After the Disciples returned from their mission assignment from Jesus, He noticed that they needed to rest in the Lord.
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Reference Passage #1 … Isaiah 26:3 [NKJV] … 
3 You [LORD] will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
… Isaiah repented of his sinful resistance and surrendered to follow God's way.

Reference Passage #2 … Luke 5:16 [NKJV] … 
16 So He, Himself, often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. 
… Jesus quite often needed to get alone with His Heavenly Father and be renewed by His Spirit.

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.” 
…We find peace from the clamor of the world when we rest in God’s word.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Poh Fang Chia, related an observation about this world which is really pretty obvious. He wrote for my edification: The alarm clock goes off. Too early, it seems. But you have a long day ahead. You have work to do, appointments to keep, people to care for, or all this and more. Well, you are not alone. Each day, many of us rush from one matter to another. As someone has wittily suggested, “That’s why we are called the human race.” 

It’s interesting to me, coming here every day this year with Our Daily Bread, to observe how often the subject of resting in Christ is covered. Yes, I know that repetition is a powerful teaching tool; but the ODB authors must think that their readers [me] need this reminder often, because the subject is raised repetitively by the ODB staff.

And the ODB authors are right, of course. We do need to be reminded and exhorted to get alone and rest our minds/hearts in Christ, especially because of the clamor and demands of this world, which is Satan’s system, trying to take us away from God’s truth and His loving, renewing, presence.

In today’s highlight passage, Jesus noticed that His disciples needed to rest in a place of solitude when they returned from the excitement of their first missionary experience. So, in Mark 6, just before Jesus fed the multitude, He had them get off alone for a short time to quiet their minds and hearts in the presence of the Lord. And Jesus, Himself, often needed to get alone with His Heavenly Father to bask in the peace and love and rest provided by God’s Spirit [see Luke 5:16].

And so do we, my friend!! And that’s why today - AND EVERY DAY - you find me beginning my day with a time alone, in my quiet place, resting in God’s word and getting away from the “human race” … with music, prayer, and some mental peace … WAY AWAY from the demands and clamor of the world. And I pray that you find that peace - EVERY DAY - as well.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … I pray that all who’re with me here are in a quiet place to rest in You, dear 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, July 21, 2016

July 21, 2016: Breaking Free From Self

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 203  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of the group 4Him singing … The Basics of Life, poignantly expressing the reality of our world … to CHOOSE to return NOW to the ways of God.

"PROCRASTINATION!!"  

Highlight Passage:  Jonah 4:4 [NKJV] …  
4 Then the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 
… God confronts Jonah’s procrastination.
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Highlight Context – Jonah 4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jonah - God’s example of resistant procrastination.
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Reference Passage #1 … Isaiah 6: 5-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Isaiah repented of his sinful resistance and surrendered to follow God's way.

  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. …” 
… Jesus commands avoiding procrastination and following Him.

Reference Passage #3 … 1st John 1:9 [NKJV] …  
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
… And aren’t we glad, as Christians, we can confess and be cleansed.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Randy Kilgore told a personal story, which you can read by using the ODB link in the "Blogger Note" below, about his tendency toward procrastination. And then he used Jonah as his biblical example of this very human trait, which many of us Christians [me included!] share.

And right now my Pastor is preaching a very convicting series on Jonah, trying to show that it’s very easy to let our emotions drive us inward into selfish tendencies to resist - and even ignore - God’s call for us to go His way rather than our own. Isaiah was another believer who was called to serve God as a Prophet; and he recognized his human resistance; but broke free, was cleansed of his sin of procrastination, and came back to surrender to God’s way (see Isaiah 6:5-8 linked above).

Jonah, however, held on to his reluctance to go it God’s way, shackled by his own anger and selfishness; and God had to show him - rather dramatically in the belly of a fish - that it’s God’s way or no way. In spite of Jonah’s procrastination, God saves a group of people Jonah hated and Jonah learns that it would’ve been so much easier to just follow God when he was called to do so.

Jesus commands us to follow Him (see Luke 9:23), doesn’t He? And I believe right now in history, God is calling His people - i.e., Christians - as the group 4Him sings, to return to the basics of the faith. But we procrastinate, don’t we?

Today, … I pray that all of us, who've surrendered to Christ as Lord, will break through our sinful procrastination and confess our selfish ways, … being cleansed of our sin [see 1st John 1:9] and returning to God’s ways over our own. Join me today! Let’s do get back to God’s basics of life!

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Help me to move from my procrastination and to follow You, Lord, … willingly.  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, July 20, 2016

July 20, 2016: Light of My Life

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 202  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Debbi Boone singing her old classic hit … You Light Up My Life, poignantly expressing the light God brings into our life to give us hope in the darkness.


Highlight Passage:  Psalm 27:1 [NKJV] …  
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? … The Lord is the strength of my life; … of whom shall I be afraid? 
… No need to fear anything with the Lord lighting our way in the darkness.
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Highlight Context – Psalm 27:1-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
 … Again, … King David’s trust in the living God as the light of his life.
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Reference Passage #1 … Psalm 119: 105 [NKJV] …  
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 
… The Psalmist knew where to find the light to walk in the darkness.

Reference Passage #2 … John 8: 12 [NKJV] …  
12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” 
 … With Jesus lighting our life, we need not fear the darkness.

Reference Passage #3 … Philippians 4: 6-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul exhorts Christians to lay aside any fear and take to our Lord, Who will replace our anxieties with His peace.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt use a personal illustration with which all parents can likely identify She wrote: Some young children have trouble falling asleep at night. While there may be many reasons for this, my daughter explained one of them as I turned to leave her bedroom one evening. “I’m afraid of the dark,” she said. I tried to relieve her fear, but I left a nightlight on so she could be sure that her room was monster-free. 
I didn’t think much more about my daughter’s fear until a few weeks later when my husband went on an overnight business trip. After I settled into bed, the dark seemed to press in around me. I heard a tiny noise and jumped up to investigate. It turned out to be nothing, but I finally understood my daughter’s fear when I experienced it myself. 

There are many things we could fear - and likely do - in this ever darkening world. Can I get a witness of agreement?

But our Lord’s life, captured in His word, can cast light in the darkness and take away the burden of fear.   That’s why you find me here EVERY day, shining His light of truth on my life to cast out any fears I might have.   

So, … if we meditate on the “night-light” of truth above, as I have this morning, … believing it as Christians, … we can sleep like a baby, basking in Christ as the Light of our life.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … I rest in Your Light, dear 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.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

July 19, 2016: Life: God’s Waiting Room

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 201  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Steven Curtis Chapman singing … Be Still And Know, declaring the truth of God’s unchanging and ever faithful purpose in our lives.

 
Highlight Passage:  Psalm 25:5 [NKJV] …  
5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me; for Your are the God of my salvation; … on You I wait all the day. 
… Placing our trust in anything or anyone other than God is foolhardy.
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Highlight Context – Psalm 25:1-15 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… King David’s trust in the living God.
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Reference Passage #1 … Psalm 27:14 [NKJV] …  
14 Wait on the Lord; … be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; … wait, I say, on the Lord! 
… Pretty clear; … but we’re so often so impatient and desire to control life ourselves.

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 In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. 
… Waiting on God is trusting in God.

Reference Passage #3 … Romans 8: 28 [NKJV] …  
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 
 … Believing this truth is absolutely necessary when life is so overwhelming and inexplicable.

  My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland explained a term we all know in comparing it with a biblical concept of waiting on God. He wrote: In everyday language, the term “marking time” has come to mean “motion without progress, not getting anywhere, not doing anything important while you wait.” It conveys a feeling of idle, meaningless waiting. ... In contrast, the word “wait” in the Bible often means “to look eagerly for, to hope, and to expect.”

Waiting on God, therefore, which we so often are forced to do when life becomes overwhelming, is not an inactive, static process. It involves an active choice to trust that God is still out there working on our behalf [see the attached photo and the Scriptures above, especially Prov. 3:5-6 and Romans 8:28).

Okay, God … I get it; … but so often I have trouble waiting.

Can I get a witness?

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Help me to wait on Your way, dear Lord, when life becomes so foggy.  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, July 18, 2016

July 18, 2016: Trusting Him

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 200  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Kathy Troccoli, singing … I Will Choose Christ, purposefully declaring her choice to give her all - all of her trust - to her Savior.


Highlight Passage:  Psalm 20:7 [NKJV] …  
7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord Our God.
… Placing our trust in anything or anyone other than God is foolhardy.
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Highlight Context – Psalm 20 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… King David’s trust in the living God.
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Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NKJV] …  
5 Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. 6 In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. 
… We may know it; … but do we live it?

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani related an interesting and true word picture to illustrate the trust we need in our God. He wrote: I like watching birds, an activity I developed while growing up in a forest village in Ghana where there were many different species of birds. In the city suburb where I now live, I recently observed the behavior of some crows that interested me. Flying toward a tree that had shed most of its leaves, the crows decided to take a rest [see attached photo]. But instead of settling on the sturdy branches, they lighted on the dry and weak limbs that quickly gave way. They flapped their way out of danger—only to repeat the useless effort. Apparently their bird-sense didn't tell them that the solid branches were more trustworthy and secure resting places. 

Then Darmani asked the pointed question: … “WHAT ABOUT US?” … On what do we light in life when we need to rest or settle in and trust our weight on something or someone? And I think you can see where God is leading us with the reference from King David’s Psalm 20 and Solomon’s advice in a passage you probably have memorized (if not, you should!) from Proverbs 3:5-6.

As Kathy Trocccoii sings in a song I’ve often use to highlight my journal entries, we need to be God’s faithful today, don’t we? I don’t think I need to say any more, do I? Let’s all fly to our Lord and settle in on His strong branches.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Help me to light on Your ever secure branches and to rest in You.  Amen    

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

Sunday, July 17, 2016

July 17, 2016: With An Open Hand

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 199  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Brian Littrell singing … I Surrender All, joyously declaring how all Christians should live - with an open hand - giving all to Jesus with our lives.

 
Highlight Passage:  Acts 20:35 [NKJV] …  
35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 
… Paul quotes Jesus on how to surrender our lives as Christians … giving with an open hand. 
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Highlight Context – Acts 20: 17-38 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul’s admonition to the Elders in Ephesus … to give from their lives with an open hand.
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Reference Passage #1 … 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. …” 
… Jesus on the cost of discipleship to Him.

Reference Passage #2 … Romans 12:1-2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Our lives as a living sacrifice, surrendering all to live for Christ and not for self or the world.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson used the life of a former slave who, after the Civil War, became successful and gave her life to serve Christ. He wrote: In 1891, Biddy Mason was laid to rest in an unmarked grave in Los Angeles. That wasn’t unusual for a woman born into slavery, but it was remarkable for someone as accomplished as Biddy. After winning her freedom in a court battle in 1856, she combined her nursing skills with wise business decisions to make a small fortune. As she observed the plight of immigrants and prisoners, she reached out to them, investing in charity so frequently that people began lining up at her house for help [see attached photo]. In 1872, just sixteen years out of slavery, she and her son-in-law financed the founding of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles. 

Biddy Mason lived out her life much as did the Apostle Paul, giving all to serve Christ and spread the Gospel to others. In the highlight passage above from Acts, Chapter 20, Paul laid out his charge to the Elders in Ephesus as to what it would take to serve Christ; and that was to reach out and serve others, surrendering all, with an open hand (see Biddy Mason’s quote in the photo).

 The question for any reading here with me, is obvious and it comes from the song linked above; and that is … Are we surrendering, with an open hand, giving our all to be living sacrifices (see Romans 12:1-2) and living as Jesus commanded in Luke 9:23. I don’t know about you, fellow Christians; but, inspired by Biddy Mason’s legacy, I need to give more of myself for my Savior.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Help me to give my life as an open hand, surrendering my all 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, July 16, 2016

July 16, 2016: Love Gift

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 198  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Wayne Watson singing … Love Found A Way, joyously declaring the amazing gift God gave to mankind in His son’s birth, death, and resurrection.


Highlight Passage:  Luke 1:78 [NKJV] …  
78 Through the tender mercy of our God, with the Dayspring from High has visited us … 
… God’s merciful gift of salvation in His Son …
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Highlight Context – Luke 1:67-79 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s gift to mankind … Jesus.
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Reference Passage #1 … John 3:16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… And we who’ve received God’s gift value it beyond measure.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, James Banks, used an personal illustration to teach on God’s amazing gift given to save mankind in the sacrifice of His Son. He wrote: It's only a keychain. Five little blocks held together by a shoelace. My daughter gave it to me years ago when she was seven. Today the lace is frayed and the blocks are chipped, but they spell a message that never grows old: “I ♥ DAD.” … The most precious gifts are determined not by what went into them, but by who they are from. Ask any parent who ever received a bouquet of dandelions from a chubby hand. The best gifts are valued not in money but in love. 

Today’s highlight ODB passage from Luke, Chapter 1 is Zechariah’s song of joy in the gift he and his wife, Elizabeth, received from God in their son, John, the Baptizer, … the one who would become the prophet announcing the coming Messiah. And then there was that gift-of-all-gifts to mankind, …God’s own Son, Jesus, … given though the birth to Mary, for the salvation of mankind.

And do I sense a conjoined ”HALLELUJAH!!” of gratitude today for God’s precious gift.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Thank You, dear Lord, for Your gift which I have received so gladly to bring me in fellowship with You forever.  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, July 15, 2016

July 15, 2016: Radical !!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 197  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Chris Tomlin leading in worship and singing … I Stand Amazed, joyously declaring the radical and wonderful nature of Jesus’ love and willingness to die for us.


Highlight Passage:  Matthew 10:39 [NKJV] …  
39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. 
… What?!! … Did I hear Him right?
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Highlight Context – Matthew 10:34-42 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus’ teach was RADICAL in His day.
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Reference Passage #1 … John 13:1-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… What’s He doing? … Washing their feet!! … WOW!! … What’s that all about?!!

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, used an interesting modern word picture to illustrate how radical Jesus’ teaching must’ve seemed to His followers. He wrote: In the midday heat of summer, while traveling in the American South, my wife and I stopped for ice cream. On the wall behind the counter we saw a sign reading, “Absolutely No Snowmobiling.” [See attached photo] The humor worked because it was so unexpected; … and sometimes saying the unexpected has the most effect. 

And that’s the way it must’ve seemed to Jesus’ followers at times when they heard Him teaching about God’s kingdom, … for example in the “Sermon on the Mount,” … or maybe in that Upper Room discourse when the Disciples saw Him put on an apron to wash their feet (see John, Chapter 13). Hearing Jesus say that “one must lose his life to find it” [see Matthew 10:39] just didn’t compute in the lives of so many of those who were following the One they wanted to become their conquering King.

He was their King; but His words didn’t seem “King-like.” He taught that a King must first serve His followers; and that’s what He illustrated to His inner 12 when He washed their feet; and they just didn’t - or couldn’t - get it. And it’s a message many don’t get today, do they?

But, … oh how I pray those who read me today understand our Savior’s Gospel message. He came as King Jesus, born in a lowly manger, to die for His slaves; and being one of those, as sung by Chris Tomlin, “I Stand Amazed” - but oh so grateful - for the love and sacrifice of my King Jesus.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord Jesus, … You are my King, … My Savior!!! And I will always stand amazed by Your love for a sinner such as I.  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, July 14, 2016

July 14, 2016: Dancing For Joy

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 196  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Scott Wesley Brown singing … Yeshua HaMashiach, joyously declaring the coming of The Messiah to God’s people


Highlight Passage:  Isaiah 61:1, 3 [NKJV] …  
1 Because the Lord has anointed Me … 3 … to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning … 
… The prophesy of The Messiah bringing joy to a mourning Israel …
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Highlight Context – Isaiah 61:1-4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… 700 years before He came was the prophesy of The Messiah
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Reference Passage #1 … Luke 4: 18-20 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… The day that Isaiah’s prophesy was fulfilled

Reference Passage #2 … Romans 10:9-13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… And now I can dance for Joy like the Jews because He’s my Messiah too.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Amy Boucher Pye, wrote about how mourning can turn to joy: “We’re cutting your job.” A decade ago those words sent me reeling when the company I worked for eliminated my position. At the time, I felt shattered, partly because my identity was so intertwined with my role as editor. Recently I felt a similar sadness when I heard that my freelance job was ending. But this time I didn’t feel rocked at my foundation, because over the years I have seen God’s faithfulness and how He can turn my mourning to joy. 

And on that day in Jesus’ home town, the One Who had been prophesied to save Israel went to the synagogue and He was asked to read from the passage in what we know of as Isaiah 61:1-4, which was Isaiah’s prophesy of the coming Messiah. And when Jesus finished His reading that day [see Luke 4:18-21], He declared that these Jews had heard and seen the fulfillment of God’s promise in Him.

And it should’ve been a time to dance with joy (see attached photo); but the people were blinded to see Jesus as Yeshua HaMashiach, … the Messiah. And Jesus’ time of public ministry began that day, … not with the joy which had been prophesied by Isaiah; but with confusion and even hatred, which ultimately led the Lamb of God to the prophesied cross.

But today, I celebrate; and in my heart I dance for joy; because as Scott Wesley Brown sings in the linked song today, I recognize “Yeshua HaMashiach.” Yes, Jesus was and is THE Messiah; … my Messiah; … and because of what He did for me on the cross [see Romans 10:9-13], also prophesied in the Old Covenant, I can dance for joy … eternal joy!!

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord Jesus, … You are Yeshua, HaMashiach; and I dance for joy to celebrate Your victory, as Messiah, over death.  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, July 13, 2016

July 13, 2016: Here I Am, Lord

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 195  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Chris Tomlin leading in worship and singing … Here I Am To Worship, expressing our attitude of worship when we come to be alone with our Lord in a time of solitude with the King of the Universe.


Highlight Passage:  Matthew 14:23 [NKJV] …  
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. 
… Jesus needed His alone time with His Father.
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Highlight Context – Matthew 14:22-33 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… There were trying times when Jesus needed to get alone with His Father for regeneration and direction.
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Reference Passage #1 … Luke 5:16, 6:12, 23 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus often went off ALONE to pray and be with His Heavenly Father

Reference Passage #2 … John 17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
… The real “Lord’s Prayer”

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland, wrote about solitude and prayer:  During a concert, singer-songwriter David Wilcox responded to a question from the audience about how he composes songs. He said there are three aspects to his process: a quiet room, an empty page, and the question, “Is there something I should know?” It struck me as a wonderful approach for followers of Jesus as we seek the Lord’s plan for our lives each day. 

And essentially, … that’s why you find me here each day. I come here daily to this quiet place at my desk; and I begin my day by asking my God to use various devotional thoughts by authors I trust, … all of whom are reflecting on God’s word, such as the Our Daily Bread devotional, to let me get closer to my heavenly Father, … praying that He’ll reveal Himself to me, … and asking for His Spirit-generated enlightenment and empowerment. And everyday He delivers His truth for me to use in my own life and to share with others.

That was Jesus’ M.O., wasn’t it [?], … to get off alone with His Heavenly Father, praying for renewal and for the Holy Spirit to show Him the way to walk … and the power to do His Father’s will. That’s what we see in today’s highlight ODB passage from Matthew 14 just after Jesus had fed the thousands and just before He was about to walk out on the water to His Disciples and show them His Lordship. And I figure, if Jesus needed renewal and direction by getting alone with His Father, … so do I!

And so, … everyday you’ll find me here - or in some quiet place of solitude - beginning my day in prayer and in God’s word, seeking my Lord’s renewal and direction. How about you, my friend, … how will you begin your day?

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord, … getting alone with You each morning is so wonderful. Thank You for guiding me and empowering me with Your truth again 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, July 12, 2016

July 12, 2016: His Way … Always Perfect

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 194  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   … Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Matthew Herbster singing … His Way Is Perfect, expressing the reality and truth that God’s way is perfect … even when life seems so challenging.


Highlight Passage:  Exodus 13:17-18 [NKJV] …  
17 Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt. 
 … God so often leads us on the tougher road so that we’ll see His way rather than our own or the world’s way.
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Highlight Context – Exodus 13:17-22 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God doesn’t always lead His people on the direct, easy route; … in fact, mostly on the tougher way.
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Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… I hope you know this one by heart! … But trusting God’s way is the ONLY WAY!

Reference Passage #2 … John 14:5-6 [NKJV] …    
5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” … 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” 
… Jesus’ advice to Thomas is our command in life … to follow HIS WAY always.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Dave Branon, had a tough, but necessary lesson today for his readers (me). He wrote: Life’s path is often difficult. So if we expect that God will always give us an easy road, we may be tempted to turn our back on Him when the terrain gets tough. If you’ve ever considered doing that, think about the people of Israel. When they were given freedom from the Egyptians after hundreds of years of bondage, they took off for the Promised Land. But God didn’t send them straight home. He “did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter” (Ex. 13:17). Instead He sent them on the hard road through the desert. In the short run, this helped them avoid wars, but in the long run, there was something bigger at work. 

And that’s the way so often in our lives, too; … isn’t it? We find our way often struggling on some craggy road of challenge; and we’d so rather God would lead us down a straight, downhill path to His purpose. But then we come out into a meadow of reality and see that God led us on the harder road to help us grow closer to Him; … we have to admit that His way was the best way after all.

My friend, take in today’s song; and let’s all thank our God for leading us on His road to glory.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord, Your way is the only way for me.  Amen    

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

Monday, July 11, 2016

July 11, 2016: Life Is A "Beach"

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 193  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Sara Groves singing her song … It’s Going To Be Alright, expressing the belief that we can be contented in Christ … ANY TIME!!


Highlight Passage:  Philippians 4:11 [NKJV] …  
11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: … 
… Contented - even in prison.
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Highlight Context – Philippians 4: 10-19 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul had learned to be contented no matter where he was or what his circumstances might be. 
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Reference Passage #1 … Romans 8:28 [NKJV] …  
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 
… Yes … ALL things!!

Reference Passage #2 … 1st Peter 5:6-7 [NKJV] …  
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 
 … And Peter had learned the lesson too.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Marion Stroud, taught today a lesson which Paul had learned thru hardships, … even imprisonment; and that is to be contented no matter what his life circumstances might be.

Now, the attached photo depicts a place where my wife and I can always find contentment … on a beach. But life is not always a “beach,” is it? Well, maybe it is; … IF … we choose to believe what Sara Groves sings in the linked song … that it’s our attitude and belief which allow us to be contented … not our circumstances. And that’s what the Apostle Paul had discovered and about which he was writing to his friends in Philippi - even though he was writing from a prison at the threat of his life. 

And Paul’s contemporary, Peter, had discovered - and lived out - the same attitude when he wrote how Christians need to cast ALL their cares on God because our Lord cares for us [see 1st Peter 5:6-7 above]. And this morning I’m praying that we don’t need to be on a peaceful beach somewhere … or wrapped in warm-fuzzies … to be contented.

Anyone who understands - AND BELIEVES - the reality of Romans 8:28 has learned that our contentment comes from our relationship with Christ … not from any circumstances in which we find ourselves at the moment. Therefore … in Him I am contented.!!

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord, I’m on Your beach … WITH YOU … 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.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

July 10, 2016: Speaking Love Loudly

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 192  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Dionne Warwick singing Bert Bacharach’s 60’s hit … What The World Needs Now Is Love, and we need God’s love spoken loudly and in abundance.


Highlight Passage:  James 3:9 [NKJV] …  
9 With it [the tongue] we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 
 … Yes, we have all we need in Christ
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Highlight Context – James 3:1-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… James speaks forcefully about the need to speak God’s language of love.
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Reference Passage #1 … Romans 12:1-2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul exhorts Christians to live out the love of God as a daily sacrifice of the love He showed for us.

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. 
… God, thru Paul, on how we are to speak grace and love to others - ALWAYS.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Keila Ochoa, used a colorful illustration (see OBD like below) to remind her readers (me) on something we need in abundance, which I’m illustrating with the attached photo and the linked You Tube song (above).

And given what has transpired in the current headlines and this nation the past week (i.e., mass killings of police and explosive racial hatred), I really don’t think I need to write very much here to expand on the message of Bert Bacharach’s 1960s song and the attached photo, do I?

The passage in Chapter 3 of James certainly speaks to how powerful our “tongue” is in speaking out our emotions; and Jesus’ brother shows us how a poisoned tongue can poison the waters of this world so easily, especially when it’s spreading the poison of hatred.

And the Apostle Paul loudly exhorts us in the passages above (as Christians) to only speak forth the grace and love of God’s truth-in-love anytime we open our mouths to express what’s on our minds. As my parents used to say over and over again when I was growing up, … “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all !!” But I don’t think we’re hearing that message loudly enough, are we? And I’m certain that we’re not speaking God’s love loudly enough as depicted in the photo.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord, give me a loud voice to shout Your love at the top of my lungs!  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.