Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August 31, 2016: Freedom In Christ!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 244

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Nichole Nordeman singing her song … Finally Free, poignantly declaring the reality of anyone who has been set free from the bondage and chains of our sin nature.


Highlight Passage: John 8:36 [NKJV] …  
36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. 
… But are we? … Really free?!
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Highlight Context … John 8:31-36 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus lays out the conditions of freedom from our sin bondage.
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Reference Passage #1 … Romans 10:9-13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God, thru Paul, lays out what it takes to be set free from the bondage of sin.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, used an historical illustration to teach on the reality of being set free from the bondage of sin. He wrote: Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745–1796) was only 11 years old when he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He made the harrowing journey from West Africa to the West Indies, then to the colony of Virginia, and then to England. By the age of 20 he purchased his own freedom, still bearing the emotional and physical scars of the inhumane treatment he had experienced. 
Unable to enjoy his own freedom while others were still enslaved, Equiano became active in the movement to abolish slavery in England. He wrote his autobiography (an unheard of achievement for a former slave in that era) in which he described the horrific treatment of the enslaved. 

Dear one; … are you free [see attached photo]? Really free?!!

Have you told someone your story? … Perhaps you have a testimony of being set free from your sin nature at a very young age and then growing in the fruit of the Spirit for many years? Perhaps, like me, you surrendered to Christ’s freeing grace in a dramatic rescue operation by the Holy Spirit in your later years. Well, isn’t it a good day to share your freedom story with someone; and maybe it will help set them free to walk with the Lord?

My friend, above … please take the time to take in Nichole Nordeman’s poignant declaration of freedom in song. Then, … having done that myself, … I think it would be a good day, if God will grant me the opportunity, to share my freedom story with someone; and that’s my prayer.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Show me someone with whom I can share my freedom story 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, August 30, 2016

August 30, 2016: Christ Touching Others

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 243  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing … I Want To Be Just Like You, poignantly expressing what should be the goal of influence for all Christians … to follow Jesus’ example and to be just like Him for the world.


Highlight Passage: Colossians 3:12 [NKJV] …  
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; … 
… Doing life Christ’s way was touching the world with God’s love …
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Highlight Context … Colossians 3:12-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God, through Paul, teaching on the influence of the “new man” to others
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Reference Passage #1 … Luke 9:23 [NKJV] … 
23 If anyone is come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 
… Following Christ allows us to have His influence in the world with others, especially our family.

Reference Passage #2 … Philippians 2:3-5 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… We influence others when we think of them before self … as did Christ

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Randy Kilgore, used an historical illustration to teach on the influence of Christlikeness in our lives. He writes: A few years before he became the 26th U.S. president (1901–1909), Theodore Roosevelt got word that his oldest son, Theodore Jr., was ill. While his son would recover, the cause of Ted’s illness hit Roosevelt hard. Doctors told him that he was the cause of his son’s illness. Ted was suffering from “nervous exhaustion,” having been pressed unmercifully by Theodore to become the “fighter” hero-type he himself had not been during his own frail childhood. Upon hearing this, the elder Roosevelt made a promise to relent: “Hereafter I shall never press Ted either in body or mind.” [see photo] 
The father was true to his word. From then on he paid close attention to how he treated his son—the very same son who would one day bravely lead the landing of Allied soldiers on Utah Beach in World War II.  

We know that Teddy Roosevelt’s nature was one of brashness, boldness, and bravery, which often overwhelmed others. Therefore, to influence his very sensitive son, the President had to become gentle, like Jesus; and he did just that, which ultimately produced a son who led thousands in to battle on D-Day in WW2.

The Apostle Paul was a bold, brash and brave warrior for Christ; but he had learned to imitate the character traits of Christ in witnessing to others. So, in his letters from prison late in his life, he exhorted his fellow Christians to reach out to others with gentleness, kindness, and love when sharing Christ with others [see verses from Colossians and Philippians above]; and Paul’s influence to Christ’s church changed the known world from the character of conquering Rome to the nature of Christlike love.

And don’t you think we could use more of that Christlikeness today?

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Help me to be an agent of Your love to someone today, especially to my family.  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, August 29, 2016

August 29, 2016: Rough Road Ahead

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 242  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Paul McCartney and the Beatles singing … The Long and Winding Road, poignantly expressing the reality of life being a long and winding road … but [and it’s my take on the song’s meaning] that our desire as Christians should be to led, by repentance and transformation, to the door only Christ can open unto salvation and sanctification.


Highlight Passage: Isaiah 40:3-4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Isaiah even prophesies another prophet, coming to announce The Messiah’s coming 
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Highlight Context … Isaiah 40:1-11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Isaiah prophesies the coming of The Messiah to make the way straight for His people. 
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Reference Passage #1 … Luke 9:23 [NKJV] … 
23 If anyone is come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 
… Following Christ is the only way to find our way down the long and winding road of life.

Reference Passage #2 … John 16:33 [NKJV] … 
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 
… Our road in life is rough; but Christ has overcome the world.

Reference Passage #3 … Revelation 3:20 [NKJV] …  
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 
… Jesus’ promise of fellowship and help - IF - in faith we open the door to let Him into our lives.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Mart DeHaan, used an illustration of one of the toughest roads for tourists to travel to see the breathtaking scenery in Madagascar. He writes: Madagascar’s National Road 5 offers the beauty of a white sand coastline, palm forests, and the Indian Ocean. Its 125 miles of two-track road, bare rock, sand, and mud, however, have given it a reputation for being one of the worst roads in the world. Tourists looking for breathtaking views are advised to have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, an experienced driver, and an onboard mechanic.

Seven hundred + years before John the Baptist came as the last Prophet of God to call for repentance of God’s people and to announce The Advent of The Messiah, Isaiah had prophesied John’s coming and how God’s Messiah would make the rough road smooth for His people (see Isaiah 40 passages linked above). John, the Baptizer, recognized that His cousin, Jesus, was THE ONE; but he also knew that God’s people were going to have to repent and turn from centuries of religious dogma and selfish living to find the path to salvation by following Christ in faith.

And our lives are like that long and winding road The Beatles sing about, … aren’t they? And that road can only lead to our Savior when we repent of self and come, in faith, to follow The Savior. And when we are willing to repent of self and seek the Savior, as He promises in the red-letter reference passages copied above, He will help us overcome the rough road we face in life.

And I don’t know about you fellow readers, … but I’m all in for those promises!!

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Show me the way, Lord, and I will follow.  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, August 28, 2016

August 28, 2016: He Sees Me

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 241  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from the group Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing … Your Grace Still Amazes Me, poignantly expressing the wondrous grace of a God who would reach out to save and transform one like me.

 
Highlight Passage: Exodus 4:10-12 [NKJV] …  
13 Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” 
… Hagar is the first person to give God a name … “The God Who Sees” = El Roi
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Highlight Context … Genesis 16:1-13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God cares for Hagar’s child and her life.
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Reference Passage #1 … Lamentations 3:22-23 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God’s mercy and grace are new every morning … and God is so great!

Reference Passage #2 … Romans 3:23, 5:8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… In spite of who/what we are, God provides His saving grace to all who would receive it.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson, illustrates God’s infinite compassion by His sending the pre-incarnate Christ to visit Hagar in the wilderness, telling her what will come from Ishmael, her son; and she gives God the fist name from any earth dweller … “The God Who Sees.”

As a pagan like Hagar named our God, He is the “God Who Sees” all and has compassion on all … yes, even those born in sin … like me … and maybe you. Even as the sinners we are, He sees us and reaches down (see attached photo) and is willing to provide His saving grace to any/all who would receive His wondrous, saving grace.

I pray all who read here join me, with thankful hearts, expressing what Phillips, Craig, and Dean sing (linked above) … that we serve a God who sees us … everyday and is willing to reach out to us with His mercy/grace … (see Lam. 3:22-23).

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Everyday and in every way, Your grace, Lord, amazes 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.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

August 27, 2016: God’s Agent

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 240  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Steve Green singing … People Need the Lord, poignantly expressing the reason we have been called by God to share the Gospel message with the world.


Highlight Passage: Exodus 4:10-12 [NKJV] …  
10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” … 11 So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” 
… Moses reluctantly becomes God’s “mouthpiece” to His people and Pharaoh.
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Highlight Context … Exodus 4:1-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God charges Moses to be His messenger - His a agent - to Pharaoh and God’s people 
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Reference Passage #1 … Matthew 28:19-20 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Christ’s “GREAT COMMISSION” to all His disciples … to go and be His Gospel mouthpiece to all the world.

Reference Passage #2 … Acts 1:8 [NKJV] …  
8 … “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 
… Christ challenges all disciples to be His witness to the world.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Amy Boucher Pyei, uses Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush to illustrate our often reluctance to be God’s agent to the world.

If we’ve seen Charlton Heston play Moses in the epic movie, we may have trouble identifying with what Moses accomplished when he went before Pharaoh and then became God’s mouthpiece through all those plagues; and finally when he wondrously led God’s people across the Red Sea to freedom. Moses, in all those miraculous feats was such spiritual giant, … wasn’t he?

But in today’s highlight passage above, I think many of us can empathize Moses’ feelings of inadequacy when God appointed this Jewish shepherd to become God’s agent to Pharaoh and His messenger to the world. He cringed with fear [see attached photo] that he was not up to the task; and that’s the same fear most of us have when we consider the charge that our Lord, King Jesus, has laid before all of His disciples … to be God’s mouthpiece - His witness - to a lost and dying world (see Acts 1:8), … i.e., taking His Gospel message to those around us and to the entire world (see Matt. 28:19-20).  

And so often when when we’re confronted with someone who needs God’s “good news,” … maybe a lost soul, even a family member headed to hell, … we balk just as did Moses at the burning bush.   But just as Steve Green sings in today’s linked song, … so many we will confront today or those we know, need the Lord. And so, are we going to be God’s mouthpiece to them? … Or not?

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … I pray that I don’t balk today if you give me some divine appointment to share Your good news, 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.

Friday, August 26, 2016

August 26, 2016: Honorable Christian Living

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 239  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Brian Doerksen singing … Just As I Am, poignantly expressing to God that we come to give our all for Him just as we are; … and He receives us in faith.

 
Highlight Passage: 1st Peter 2:9-10 [NKJV] …  
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 
… Now we are God’s chosen and a royal priesthood, called to live for God.
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Highlight Context … 1st Peter 2:9-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Peter exhorts Christians to avoid the world and live honorably for Christ’s sake.
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Reference Passage #1 … Romans 12:1-2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul’s exhortation on living for Christ, … giving our all as “living sacrifices”

Reference Passage #2 … Galatians 1:10 [NKJV] …  
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. 
… Paul on trying to avoid pleasing man so as to please our Lord with our lives.

Reference Passage #3 … Ephesians 4:1-2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul wanted all Christians to live lives worthy of our calling as Christians.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, Illustrated his teaching with a story about a British statesman rebuking members of Parliament for dishonorable behavior. He wrote: While delivering a well-publicized speech, a respected leader and statesman got the attention of his nation by declaring that most of his country’s honorable Members of Parliament (MPs) were quite dishonorable. Citing lifestyles of corruption, pompous attitudes, unsavory language, and other vices, he rebuked the MPs and urged them to reform. As expected, his comments didn’t go well with them and they dispatched counter-criticisms his way. 

Unfortunately, we’re seeing a lot of that kind of political rhetoric being slung around in public debate these days by American candidates who accuse each other of dishonesty and dishonorable living. In fact, it’s hard to find anyone going into politics these days who can honorably represent the values of Christ.  And that’s the call of the Apostles in today’s ODB scriptures above; … that we would surrender our lives and live honorably for the One Who died of us all, … our Lord and Savior, King Jesus.

So, as I acknowledged coming in faith to surrender myself for Christ years ago (see/hear song link), I’m challenged today with the exhortations of Peter and Paul to live in a way which honors/glorifies my Lord, avoiding the ways of the world and living TOTALLY for Christ.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … My prayer today, Lord, is that I live in a way which honors You … today and all days.  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, August 25, 2016

August 25, 2016: Truth Hidden in the Heart

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 238  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Keith and Krystin Getty singing … Speak O Lord, poignantly praying that God’s truth and light be seen in us and His truth shines through our words.


Highlight Passage: Psalm 119:11 [NKJV] …  
11 … Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 
… God’s word, memorized deeply our hearts will be with us all our lives
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Highlight Context … Psalm 119:9-11, 17-19, 130-134 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God, thru the Psalmist, shows the value/power of God’s word
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Reference Passage #1 … Isaiah 55:11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God’s word, when heeded and applied to our lives for God’s purposes, always has power.

Reference Passage #2 … Matthew 5:14-16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
… Jesus charges His disciples to live our lives shining the truth of His word in how we live.

Reference Passage #3 … 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul instructs Timothy and us on the power, influence, and helpfulness of knowing God’s word.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Cindy Hess Kasper, taught with a position taken by a physician about the value and power of having God’s word imbedded deeply in our consciousness. She wrote: One difficult part of growing older is the fear of dementia and the loss of short-term memory. But Dr. Benjamin Mast, an expert on the topic of Alzheimer’s disease, offers some encouragement. He says that patients’ brains are often so “well worn” and “habitual” that they can hear an old hymn and sing along to every word. He suggests that spiritual disciplines such as reading Scripture, praying, and singing hymns cause truth to become “embedded” in our brains, ready to be accessed when prompted. 

I’m not going to write very much here to expand on the ODB observations above … as well as the song from Keith and Krystin Getty. And I will pray that when one takes in those truths, we will be motivated to do what the author of Psalm 119 wrote, … writing that great poem/song to honor the power and application of God’s word to our lives.

My fellow Christian, many years ago, a mentor thought enough of me to convey the truth of the reference Scriptures above; and helping me to memorize over 70 key passages from God’s word, … which utterly changed my life - for God’s good. And that’s why you find me here each morning, digging deeper and deeper into God’s truth, thru His word, so that my mind/heart will prayerfully reflect His power/love.

O how I pray that readers here share the passion for God’s word which the Psalmist who wrote Psalm 119 and the Gettys have in their song, linked above.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Every day here, Lord, You build Your power into my life through Your word.  Amen    

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August 24, 2016: Taking the High Ground

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 237  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from t Bebo Norman singing … I Will Lift My Eyes, poignantly praying what each of us who know Christ as Lord/Savior should pray … to take the high ground of prayer when we’re down in life.


Highlight Passage: Mark 14:38… [NKJV] …  
38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
… Jesus on how to avoid temptation in spiritual warfare … 
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Highlight Context … Mark 14:32-42 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus taking the high ground of prayer in His battle with Satan in the Garden.
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Reference Passage #1 … Psalm 121:1, 123:1 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Songs of ascent to the high grounds where God resides

Reference Passage #2 … Ephesians 6:13-18 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul in describing our armament and strategies for spiritual warfare, gives us the #1 battle strategy in verse 18 … taking the high ground of prayer.

Reference Passage #3 … 1st Peter 5:8 [NKJV] …  
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 
… Peter knows that we all … ALWAYS … are in a battle with our arch enemy.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Keila Ochoa, a Mexican evangelist, used a story of war to illustrate our need to be vigilant in the daily battles of spiritual warfare. She wrote: From my window I can see a 1,700-meter hill called the Cerro del Borrego or “Hill of the Sheep.” In 1862, the French army invaded Mexico. While the enemy camped in the central park of Orizaba, the Mexican army established its position at the top of the hill. However, the Mexican general neglected to guard access to the top. While the Mexican troops were sleeping, the French attacked and killed 2,000 of them. 

Would any of my readers here deny that we, … Christians, … are in a constant spiritual battle, which requires daily and disciplined vigilance to do battle against our spiritual enemies? [See 1st Peter 5:8] And our enemies, … Satan, the world, and our own flesh, … are powerful, aren’t they? Do I sense an “AMEN!” of agreement?

Well, with that agreement, what are we to do to walk in victory? Well, Jesus, when He was battling His arch enemy in the Garden of Gethsemane, gave us a strong clue as to a primary battle strategy. Above in the highlight passage from Mark 14, Jesus exhorted an inner group of Disciples to watch and pray with vigilance lest they fall to the enemy. And the Apostle Paul in exhorting Christians as to how to do battle (see Eph. 6:13-18) ended His teaching by emphasizing the need for us to take/hold the high ground of prayer in battle.

And that reminder and exhortation was my primary take-away from today’s ODB … that we simply must do what is depicted in today’s photo and song … to take the high ground in battle with prayer, lifting our eyes to God daily, … even momentarily, … and then holding that high ground with an attitude of surrender and thankfulness (see Phil. 4:6-7).

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Every day here, Lord, I lift my eyes to You for help and strength for battle.  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, August 23, 2016

August 23, 2016: God’s Word Speaks

Truth Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 236  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from the group, Mercy Me, singing … Word Of God Speak, poignantly praying what each of us who know Christ as Lord/Savior should pray … to let God’s truth speak to our lives.

 
Highlight Passage: Hebrews 1:1-3a … [NKJV] …  
1 God, who at various times and in various ways, spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, … 
… God has revealed Himself through His prophets and the Word of His Son (all of which we have in our Bible)
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Highlight Context … Hebrews 1:1-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God’s supreme revelation comes through His written word - OUR BIBLE.
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Reference Passage #1 … 1st Corinthians 2:12 [NKJV] …  
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 
… Not only has God given us His truth, via His word; but He’s also given us His Spirit to guide us in our understanding Him.

Reference Passage #2 … 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul teaching Timothy (and us) as to God’s word being God-inspired and His way of showing us His will/ways.

Reference Passage #3 … 2nd Peter 3:14-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Peter writes of the validity of His fellow Apostle, Paul, and how we must listen to God through His teachings.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Dave Branon, used a personal story to teach about the power and truth coming from God’s word - our Bible. He wrote: Recently, my son-in-law was explaining to my granddaughter Maggie that we can talk with God and that He communicates with us. When Ewing told Maggie that God sometimes speaks to us through the Bible, she responded without hesitation: “Well, He’s never said anything to me. I’ve never heard God talk to me.”  

Anybody reading with me here empathize with little Maggie? I’m pretty sure any of us have felt that we needed to hear from God more clearly in order to know His will or follow His way. Do I sense an affirming, “Amen?!” Well, that’s why I’m here, writing this blog this morning, dear one.

I’ve come here, as I do every morning, to pray essentially what the group Mercy Me sings in the linked song above … to let God speak to me through His word. And he does … EVERYDAY!! … Today, He’s reminded me that His word - our Bible - is is primary way of revealing Himself and His truths to me. And all of those Scriptures above speak to God using His word to open Himself to me. 

The question is now whether God speaks to us through His word. NO, … the question is … are we listening?

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Speak to me clearly through Your word, 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.

Monday, August 22, 2016

August 22, 2016: Fall Risk

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 235  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Sara Groves singing … It’s Going To Be Alright, poignantly reminding us that in Christ we have hope from arising from a fall.

 
Highlight Passage: 1st Corinthians 1:12-13 [NKJV] …  
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. 
… Life is risky business; but God is there for us.
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Highlight Context … 1st Corinthians 10:1-13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul’s warning to our vulnerability to falling into sin; but God’s promise when we’re tempted or tried. 
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Reference Passage #1 … Galatians 6:1-2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Helping others who are vulnerable to fall.

Reference Passage #2 … Hebrews 13:5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God’s promise in times of peril.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, teaches with a personal illustration I’m very familiar. She wrote: When my friend Elaine was recovering after a bad fall, a hospital worker placed a bright yellow bracelet on her wrist [see attached photo]. It read: “Fall Risk”. That phrase meant: Watch this person carefully. She may be unsteady on her feet. Help her get from place to place.  

 I’m very familiar with this illustration because I worked in a hospital in heath care for over 30 years; and anytime we saw one of those bracelets, we became vigilant around the patient to the potential of them falling. And interestingly enough, now I work with men who’re trying to walk free from past habits (or addictions) where they have fallen to repetitive sexual sin; and it’s as if they wear a spiritual “fall risk” bracelet at all times.

The Apostle Paul, in highlight and reference passages above, exhorted Christians to beware of the potential to fall into sin; and our charge, as Christians, to help those who do; but God also relayed His promise to be faithful, when we’re vulnerable to fall, that He would always be there for us (see 1st Cor. 10:13, Galatians 6:1-2, and Hebrews 13:5).

So, today, if you’re wearing a “fall risk” bracelet that God, and others can see, … take heart; … as Sara Groves sings (linked above), ”It’s going to be alright!” 

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … I know that You’re always there, Lord, to lead and guide me when I’m at risk to fall.  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, August 21, 2016

August 21, 2016: Doing Life Together

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 234  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of the group Casting Crowns singing … Broken Together, reminding Christians to that life is meant to be lived in TOGETHERNESS … not in loneliness.


Highlight Passage: Hebrews 10:24-25 [NKJV] …  
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. 
… God’s church is primed to work TOGETHER in the unity of Christ’s calling.
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Highlight Context … Hebrews 10:19-25 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God’s will that life is meant to be lived in community … in TOGETHERNESS.
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Reference Passage #1 … Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Two - TOGETHER - are better than one alone … and even more brings more strength.

Reference Passage #2 … Philippians 2: 3-4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God made us to reach out and help one another - TOGETHER - in community.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland, uses the word picture of Disneyland lines to illustrate how we work better, as humans, TOGETHER, rather than as Lone Ranger Christians. He wrote: While standing in line for a popular attraction at Disneyland, I noticed that most people were talking and smiling instead of complaining about the long wait. It made me ponder what made waiting in that line an enjoyable experience. The key seemed to be that very few people were there by themselves. Instead, friends, families, groups, and couples were sharing the experience, which was far different than standing in line alone. 

My nature is to go it alone in life. Some are the gregarious type who love groups and togetherness; and they do well in crowds of people. I’m not one of them. But if there’s one lesson I’ve learned in becoming and growing as a Christian, it is the lesson taught by God’s truth above, … that life is meant to be lived in community, with each of us in God’s kingdom reaching out to help others and to share in each other’s sorrows and burdens.

Today’s OBD was a good reminder for me to resist my natural tendency to do life in a lounge chair - ALONE; and rather, … to follow my Lord’s leading - thru His word (see above) - to live in community, … especially with my fellow Christians.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … I will be with my fellow Christians today, Lord, in Sabbath celebration of Your love… in Your house, … worshipping You. Please bless our time of praise and sharing.  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, August 20, 2016

August 20, 2016: Giants?

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 233  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Don Moen singing … God Will Make A Way, reminding Christians to seek God’s way and then follow it in faith.

 
Highlight Passage: Numbers 13:30 [NKJV] …  
30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” 
 … Caleb and Moses, with faith in God, saw His will that the people move into Canaan as God had promised.
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Highlight Context … Numbers 13:25-14:9 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Ten spies feared the giants and two feared God and saw His will to move on.
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Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Again, as I so often do, this passage is reported as significant.

Reference Passage #2 … Philippians 3:13-14 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul exhorts fellow Christians to keep their eyes of faith on the prize (of God’s will) rather than being deterred by fears of the world or self.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David Roper, uses the true story of the 12 spies going into Canaan to scope out God’s promised land; and when they returned, 10 were afraid to move forward, having seen “giants;” … but two of the spies saw God’s prize in Canaan for the taking. He wrote: After being encamped near Mt. Sinai for two years, the people of Israel were on the verge of entering Canaan—the land God had promised them. God told them to send twelve spies to assess the land and the people living there. When the spies saw the strength of the Canaanites and the size of their cities, ten of them said, “We can’t!” Two said, “We can!” 
… What made the difference? 

The difference, of course, was perception of these two groups, skewed by fear of the world or self in ten as opposed to the faith of two who clearly saw God’s will and His vision for His people. Oh, so often we know of God’s calling or His direction; but we become encumbered by our own self-imposed fears. Some may see the exact same things from life, as did God’s 12 spies; but they report very opposite prospects to move forward based on how they see God’s sovereignty and His will for them to move onward.

The ODB author asks his readers, “What are your “giants”? A habit you cannot break? A temptation you cannot resist? A difficult marriage? A drug-abusing son or daughter? If we compare ourselves with our difficulties, we will always be overwhelmed. Faith looks away from the greatness of the undertaking to the greatness of an ever-present, all-powerful God.”

We all must answer those questions; and after taking in the song and scriptures above, I pray we all might move onward to the prize God has for us.   Is fear going to stop us or will our faith in God prevail?

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Author Roper’s prayer is worthy of repeating by this humble servant today, as He wrote "Dear Lord, when the “giants” in my life begin to overwhelm me with fear, help me to trust 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.

Friday, August 19, 2016

August 19, 2016: All Alike?

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 232  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of iGuy Penrod singing the classic hymn … Count Your Blessings, reminding Christians to remember what God has done for us.

 
Highlight Passage: Matthew 20:15 [NKJV] …  
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ 
… Seeking to go our own way or to be like others so often leads us astray from God.
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Highlight Context … Matthew 20:1-16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus’ parable of the workers in the vineyard.
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Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… So often our pursuits are a matter of trusting and seeking God’s ways, rather than our own.

Reference Passage #2 … Luke 18:9-14 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… We can be like the Pharisee in the parable and look down - in pride - on others we feel lower than our station in life

Reference Passage #3 … Romans 12:1-2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Conforming to the world’s ways is not being a living sacrifice for our Lord.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Marvin Williams, quotes a sociologist on how we so often try to pursue what others have rather than being grateful for God’s blessings. He wrote: Thomas J. DeLong, a professor at Harvard Business School, has noted a disturbing trend among his students and colleagues—a  “comparison obsession." He writes:  “More so than ever before, . . . business executives, Wall Street analysts, lawyers, doctors, and other professionals are obsessed with comparing their own achievements against those of others. [see attached photo] . . . This is bad for individuals and bad for companies. When you define success based on external rather than internal criteria, you diminish your satisfaction and commitment.” 

And the scriptures rendered above certainly support this professor’s observation, … telling us, in no uncertain terms, what Guy Penrod sings in today’s devotional song. All too often I find myself comparing what I do with others, rather than being grateful for God’s many (WAY MANY!) blessings in my life. I find myself seeking to do life the world’s way rather than pursuing God’s way [see Prov. 3:5-6 and Romans 12:2].

I don’t need to be like so many others. I need to be me … and the best me I can be for my Lord. And that’s my goal today. How about you?

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord, thank You for saving ME … and for reshaping me into Your image. Help me to be the best of You I can be 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, August 18, 2016

August 18, 2016: He Wanted ME ?!?

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 231  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Brian Doerkson singing the classic hymn of surrender … Just As I Am, the song played at Billy Graham crusades for decades as lost souls were called to come forward in surrender to God’s altar call of salvation.

 
Highlight Passage: 2 Chronicles 10:17-18 [NKJV] …  
17 Then Abijah and his people struck them with a great slaughter; so five hundred thousand choice men of Israel fell slain. 18 Thus the children of Israel were subdued at that time; and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord God of their fathers. 
… God lifts Judah to defeat Israel because of their faith in Him.
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Highlight Context … 2 Chronicles 13:10-18 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK …   https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Chronicles+13%3A10-18&version=NKJV … Even a little bit of faith goes a long way to let God in for His victories.
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Reference Passage #1 … John 3:16-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God’s love so great that He receives any lost soul who comes to Him in faith.

Reference Passage #2 … Revelation 3:20 [NKJV] …  
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 
… Jesus’ call to even lukewarm believers … to open the door and let Him in for fellowship.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson, used a story of some faithful soldiers to illustrate God’s reception of any/all who come to Him in faith. He wrote: As the convoy waited to roll out, a young marine rapped urgently on the window of his team leader’s vehicle. Irritated, the sergeant rolled down his window. “What?” “You gotta do that thing,” the marine said. “What thing?” asked the sergeant. “You know, that thing you do,” replied the marine. … Then it dawned on the sergeant. He always prayed for the convoy’s safety, but this time he hadn’t. So he dutifully climbed out of the Humvee and prayed for his marines. The marine understood the value of his praying leader. 

Those soldiers sensed they needed to go to God before they went into battle that day [see photo]. And my ODB author reinforced this modern day example of God’s receptiveness to the faithful by highlighting the biblical story of the men of Judah, under Abijah, surrendering their plight to God as The Lord came in to help them defeat the northern tribes of Israel [see the 2nd Chronicles 13 passage above].

And I think of how God wanted me, … yes, even me, when I was a sex addicted atheist, who finally surrendered to His love (see John 3:16-17) and let Him come into my life daily to transform me into the man I’m becoming today (see Revelation 3:20).

Oh, how it’s my prayer that all reading here have received His saving grace, … offered openly and freely to any/all who come to receive His love by faith; and then daily to open the door as He knocks and desires to come in and fellowship with us.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord, Jesus, come in and dine with me 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.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

August 17, 2016: Others First

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 230  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from the group, The Hollies, singing a popular song from the 70s, … He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, proclaiming the reality of Christians reaching out to help carry the burdens of our brothers/sisters in Christ … and for others in need as well.


Highlight Passage:  Romans 16:1-2 [NKJV] …  
1 I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, 2 that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also. 
… Paul exhorting fellow Christians to reach out and help those who had helped him.
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Highlight Context … Romans 16:1–4,13,21–23 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul wanted others to help those who had helped him while in prison.
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Reference Passage #1 … Philippians 2:3-4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul, passing on the charge to reach out and help others, … more than self.

Reference Passage #2 … 1 Thessalonians 5:11 [NKJV] …   1
1 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 
… Others first!!

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Anne Cetas, told the story of an unselfish brother carrying his younger brother miles to raise funds for those, like his brother, with cerebral palsy. She wrote: In the summer of 2015, Hunter (aged 15) carried his brother Braden (8) for a fifty-seven-mile walk to raise awareness of the needs of people with cerebral palsy [see attached photo]. Braden weighs sixty pounds, so Hunter needed frequent rest stops where others helped him stretch his muscles, and he wore special harnesses to disperse Braden’s weight. Hunter says that while the harnesses helped with the physical discomfort, what helped him most were the people along the way. “If it weren’t for everyone cheering and walking with us, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. . . . My legs were sore, but my friends picked me up and I made it through . . . .” His mom named the arduous trek “The Cerebral Palsy Swagger.” 

The message of that true story and from one of my favorite songs from 1970 by the Hollies, as well as from the letters of the Apostle Paul from prison, cited above, is clear, isn’t it? We need to ask ourselves if there’s anything we can do today to help others, rather than focusing on our own selfish desires.

Do I sense anyone else here who feels convicted besides me?

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Show me clearly where I can pick up the load and help someone carry their burden today, 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, August 16, 2016

August 16, 2016: Light In Darkness

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 229  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Chris Tomlin singing … Light of the World, proclaiming the reality of Christians being able to shine the Light of Christ into the world - a very dark world. … And THEN ON TO THIS LINK  to hear Chris Rice singing Go Light Your World, commanding us to do as Christ commanded - to shine as the Light of the World.


Highlight Passage:  John 1:4-5 [NKJV] …  
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 
… A good name is the strongest legacy we can leave for our children.
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Highlight Context … John 1:1-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… In Him (Christ) and from Him comes the light of the world.
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Reference Passage #1 … Matthew 5:16 [NKJV] …  
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. 
… Jesus demands that His disciples shine His light into a very dark world.

Reference Passage #2 … John 8:12, 9:5 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus made it clear that HE was the light of the world.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, C.P. Hia, used an historical illustration to teach on how we, as Christians, must shine our light - i.e. Christ’s light - into a very dark world. He wrote: In 1989, Vaclav Havel was elevated from his position as a political prisoner to become the first elected president of Czechoslovakia. Years later at his funeral in Prague in 2011, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who herself was born in Prague, described him as one who had “brought the light to places of deep darkness.” 
What Havel’s introduction of light did in the political arena of Czechoslovakia (and later the Czech Republic), our Lord Jesus did for the whole world. 

Really, … I don’t need to write very much more in conviction, do I? Christ came into this world - a space darkened by sin; and He both declared (see above Scriptures) and demonstrated that He was the “Light of the World.” And when we let His light into our hearts (see photo), we become His light in the world; and as He commands (and Chris Rice sings) we must shine His light to help others come out of their darkness.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Help me be Your light for someone else 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.

Monday, August 15, 2016

August 15, 2016: Forging a Legacy

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 228  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of the group Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing … I Want To Be Like You, proclaiming the desire to leave a legacy of Christlikeness Christian parents desire to be for the next generation.


Highlight Passage:  Matthew 6:8 [NKJV] …  
1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, … loving favor rather than silver or gold. 
… A good name is the strongest legacy we can leave for our children.
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Highlight Context … Proverbs 22:1-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Leaving a legacy of Godliness for those who come after us.
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Reference Passage #1 … Ephesians 4:1, 6:4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Living as we’re called to live, in Christ, and raising our kids toward Christlikeness will be a strong legacy for God’s glory.

Reference Passage #2 … Galatians 5:22-23 [NKJV] …  
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. 
… Living in Spirit-led fruitfulness will ALWAYS leave a legacy of Christlikeness.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Joe Stowelli, used a personal story to illustrate the need for Christians to leave a legacy of Christlikeness. He wrote: While staying in a hotel in a small town I noticed that the church across the street was having a service. People were jammed into the church with a standing-room-only crowd of both young and old flowing out onto the sidewalk. When I noticed a hearse by the curb, I realized it was a funeral. And given the crowd, I assumed that it was the celebration of the life of some local hero—perhaps a wealthy businessperson or a famous personality. Curious, I said to the desk clerk, “That’s an amazing turnout for a funeral; it must be for a famous person in town.” 
“No,” he replied. “He wasn’t rich or famous; but he was a good man.” 

 When we die, as disciples of Christ, what kind of a legacy do we want to leave for others to say of our lives, … especially our family (see attached photo)?  I would pray that I would follow the Apostle Paul’s admonition … to live a life worthy of my calling in Christ (see Eph. 4:1) and that my wife and I have, together, raised our children in the admonition of the Lord (see Eph. 6:4).

In that way, … in our fruitfulness as a Christian parents/grandparents (see Gal. 5:22-23) … I’m praying that our kids/grandkids would all want to sing, as do Phillips, Craig, and Dean in the linked song above, “I want to be like you.”

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Help my dear wife and I live in a way which honors and glorifies You to those who come after us.  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, August 14, 2016

August 14, 2016: Father Knows Best

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 227  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Sandi Patty singing … His Eye Is On the Sparrow, proclaiming the reality of our Heavenly Father, Who loves us and always watches over His children.


Highlight Passage:  Matthew 6:8 [NKJV] …  
8 “… For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 
… God, thru the Prophet, expresses His inscrutable greatness. Jesus teaching on our reliance on the Father’s providence.
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Highlight Context … Matthew 6:8-9, 25-34 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus teaches on the watchcase of the Heavenly Father.
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Reference Passage #1 … Deuteronomy 31:6, 8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God, our Heavenly Father, not only is always with us, … He goes ahead of us.

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. 
… I hope all here have this one in our hearts and truly believe it.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, an ODB author from Ghana, tells a very personal story to illustrate his teaching today. He wrote: I was only four years old as I lay by my father on a floor mat on a hot summer night. (My mother, with a baby, had her own room at the time.) This was in northern Ghana where the climate is mostly dry. Sweat covered my body, and the heat parched my throat. I felt so thirsty I shook my father awake. In the middle of that dry night, he rose up and poured water from a jar for me to quench my thirst. Throughout my life, as he did that night, my father exemplified the image of a caring father. He provided what I needed. [See attached photo] 

We have a social plague of fatherlessness growing in this country; and it’s effects have been devastating on our culture. The violence and distrust for authority that we see so prevalent today is no doubt related to the reality that so many sons don’t know, nor trust, that they have a father who will be there for them … ALWAYS.

And that’s what Jesus was reassuring the people on that hillside when He delivered the Sermon on the mount (see the Matthew 6 citation above). Jesus knew that His Heavenly Father was watching over Him; and He wanted the people (and that’s you and me) to know that we could trust a loving Heavenly Father Who would always provide for us and watch over us.

I pray that all reading here, even if your earthly father did not provide the watch-care he should have, know and live by the truth that our Heavenly Father watches over, not only the sparrow, as the song declares, but over us as well.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Thank You for providing my needs and watching over me every day … and every moment!  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, August 13, 2016

August 13, 2016: Way Beyond Me!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 226  

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 … How Great Is Our God, proclaiming the greatness and majesty of our inscrutable and indescribable Lord and God.

 
Highlight Passage:  Isaiah 55:8-9 [NKJV] …  
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. …” 
… God, thru the Prophet, expresses His inscrutable greatness.
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Highlight Context … Isaiah 55:6-9 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God’s Prophet declares God’s incomprehensible greatness.
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Reference Passage #1 … Job 36:26 [NKJV] …  
26 “Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him; … Nor can the number of His years be discovered. … “ 
… Job is finally recognizing God’s greatness.

Reference Passage #2 … 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. 
… Prayerfully we have faith that God is in control and is working out all things for our good … and according to His purposes … even if we don’t understand those purposes.

Reference Passage #3 … Romans 11:33-26 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
… Paul quotes from Is. 40:13 and Jer. 23:18 to declare that God’s ways are “unsearchable.”

Reference Passage #4 … Philippians 1:6 [NKJV] …  
6 …  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; … 
… Faith in God’s sometimes inscrutable sanctifying grace …

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, uses a modern word picture to teach about our having faith in things we don’t understand. He wrote: Although I depend on technology every day to get my job done, I don’t understand much about how it works. I turn my computer on, bring up a Word document, and get to work on my writing. Yet my inability to comprehend how microchips, hard drives, Wi-Fi connections, and full-color displays actually function doesn’t get in the way of my benefiting from technology. 

And isn’t that the way we, as Christians, move forward in life, … not really being able to understand or explain all the ways of God; … but trusting that He’s in control and is moving us toward a completion that we know our Lord has for us [see the reference scriptures above]? … Of course, it is! … And sometimes it’s frustrating; but it all boils down to our faith in a God Who is so much greater than we can imagine and ALWAYS has our good in His plan.

All we have to do is look into the heavens (see attached photo) and we can declare what Chris Tomlin sings above; and I will pray that we can trust in our great and wondrous God this day; … trusting that He’s in control and His purposes are to move us to become more like Him today and everyday.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … I trust You, Lord … even tho, so often, I don’t have a clue what You’re doing.  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, August 12, 2016

August 12, 2016: Carrying HIS “Message”

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 225  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of the group 4Him singing … The Message, singing of our responsibility as Christ’s messengers to carry His message faithfully and clearly to this world.


Highlight Passage:  Romans 12: 2 [NKJV] …  
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 
… Paul exhorts Christians to be living sacrifices - not as the world would - but as Christ would. 
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Highlight Passage - Repeated in Context … Romans 12:1-2 [ MSG] … USE THIS LINK 
… The Message paraphrase of Romans 12:1-2 showing God’s intent for the church in this world. 
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Highlight Context – Romans 12:1-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul exhorted those in Christ’s body to unify and carry the message of redemption in all that we think, say, and do.
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Reference Passage #1 … Matthew 28:19-20 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Christ’s “Great Commission” for His church

Reference Passage #2 … Acts 1:8 [NKJV] …  
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 
… Jesus’ charge for His Church to become His witness … i.e. His messengers.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland, warns Christians, much the same way the Apostle Paul did in Romans 12 (see above) to avoid falling into the mind trap of Satan’s ways when we carry Christ’s good news to the world. He wrote: When Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “the medium is the message” in 1964, personal computers were unknown, mobile phones were science fiction, and the Internet didn’t exist. Today we understand what great foresight he had in predicting how our thinking is influenced in this digital age. 
 In Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, he writes, “[The media] supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles.” 

When Christ ascended and returned to heaven after His resurrection, He commissioned His Church to go forth with His Spirit’s power and take the message of the gospel to the world (see Matt. 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8). But, unfortunately, satan has found a way to mute and distort the message of God by having Christians adopt the world’s way of messaging (i.e., the internet’s language system).

The Apostle Paul (in Romans 12:2) warned Christians to avoid the world’s way of doing business; and we should take heed of this warning as we do all we can to be Christ’s ambassadors in this world. So, fellow messenger, … let’s go forth today and take God’s truth, … i.e., HIS MESSAGE, … living it out and and proclaiming His word clearly to the world. That’s what I try to do - and pray that I’m doing - each day here.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … help me to witness and carry Your message clearly to the world every day in this place.  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, August 11, 2016

August 11, 2016: “Fear Not!”

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 224  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Mark Lowry and the Gaither Band singing … Mary Did You Know, singing of glorious birth of the baby King Jesus.


Highlight Passage:  Luke 2:10 [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. 
… God’s goodness and mercy shields us from the heat of our day.
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Highlight Context – Luke 2:8-20 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… No need to fear from the Angels … or from Jesus.
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Reference Passage #1 … John 10:31-39 [ NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Many feared Jesus in His day, especially the Jewish leaders, because they could not see the Messiah in Him.

Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Phillip Yancey, teaches on the fear so many had in Jesus’ day, not understanding how the Messiah could be born in a manger. He wrote: Nearly every time an angel appears in the Bible, the first words he says are, “Do not be afraid” (Dan. 10:12, 19; Matt. 28:5; Rev. 1:17). Little wonder. When the supernatural makes contact with planet Earth, it usually leaves the human observers flat on their faces in catatonic fear. But Luke tells of God making an appearance on earth in a form that does not frighten. In Jesus, born in a barn and laid in a feeding trough, God finds at last a mode of approach that we need not fear. What could be less scary than a newborn baby? 

For many years in my younger days, I feared the reality of Christ, rejecting His divinity, … much like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day. But like the angels declared to the shepherds on the night of our King Jesus’ birth, there’s no need to fear our Lord as the Messiah. Yet, there is need to bow down to Him as our Lord. For if we don’t, the eternal horror we will face is certainly something to be feared.

I pray that all who read here have seen Jesus as our eternal King and have received Him as our Lord so as to be with Him forever in Paradise.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … I pray that all who read here with me know You, Lord Jesus, as King and Messiah.  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, August 10, 2016

August 10, 2016: His Goodness Shades Us

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 223  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of the group Newsong singing … For Goodness Sake, singing of the reality of God’s love ALWAYS shielding us when we surrender our lives to our Savior.

 
Highlight Passage:  Psalm 121:5 [NKJV] …  
5 The Lord is your keeper; … the Lord is your shade at your right hand. 
… God’s goodness and mercy shields us from the heat of our day.
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Highlight Context – Psalm 121 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… A Song of God’s goodness shading us from evil.
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Reference Passage #1 … Lamentations 3:22-23 [ NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God’s shielding faithfulness never ceases

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, Josh. 1:5] 
… God repeats His promise to never forsake us.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Amy Boucher Pye, relates a word picture to illustrate the goodness and mercy and faithfulness of our God. She wrote: Living in Britain, I don’t usually worry about sunburn. After all, the sun is often blocked by a thick cover of clouds. But recently I spent some time in Spain, and I quickly realized that with my pale skin, I could only be out in the sunshine for ten minutes before I needed to scurry back under the umbrella. As I considered the scorching nature of the Mediterranean sun, I began to understand more deeply the meaning of the image of the Lord God as His people’s shade at their right hand. Residents of the Middle East knew unrelenting heat, and they needed to find shelter from the sun’s burning rays.

The ODB entry today is a word picture with which we can all identify; … i.e., the need to be shaded from the scorching sun (which, of course, represents the evil in this world). Everyday, watching the news we see/hear of the heat of this evil world bearing down on us … with murders, terrorism, and all sorts of mayhem pervading our times.

BUT … God’s promise to Israel in Psalm 121, and repeated in the other reference scriptures above, is that His goodness and mercy will always be there to shade us from the heat of evil in the world. Take in today’s linked song, and know that even if we lose our lives to this scorching evil, believers will be shaded with God’s love for eternity.

So, when you see reports of terrorists and murderous mayhem today, … take heart in the shading we have from our Lord.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … I run into the shade of Your mercy today, Lord, to be shielded from the heat of evil in this world.  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.