Friday, September 30, 2016

September 30, 2016: Real-deal Faith

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 274 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Keith and Kristyn Getty performing their song… By Faith , poignantly declaring what we, as Christians, must walk by faith and not by sight.


Highlight Passage: Romans 4:20-22 [NKJV] … 
20 He [ABRAHAM] did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 
… Abraham’s faith was accounted by God to him for his salvation.
============
Highlight Passage: Romans 4:18-25 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Abraham’s faith was pure and God accounted it unto righteousness.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … 2nd Corinthians 13:5 [NKJV] … 
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 
 … Pop-quiz!! … How’s our faith today?

Reference Passage #2 … Hebrews 11:1 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Only by faith in God does the world make any sense.

My Journal for Today: … Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson, used the faith of Abraham as an exemplar of the faith we, as Christians, should have. He wrote: Nothing Abraham did in his own strength worked. But ultimately he became known as a man of tremendous faith. Paul wrote of him, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be’” (Rom. 4:18). This faith, said Paul, “was credited to him as righteousness” (v. 22). … Abraham’s faith was in something far bigger than himself—the one and only God. It’s the object of our faith that makes all the difference. 

Okay, fellow Christian; … my faith was tested today (see 2Cor. 13:5) by this ODB entry [you can read the whole piece with the link below]. Tim G, the ODB author, took me back to the faith that Abram (who became Abraham, the father of our faith) exhibited before God. Was his faith perfect? Well, duh [!], … NOT!! … But it was the “real-deal;” and God saw that and accounted his faith unto righteousness (or more importantly, … unto salvation). [See the highlight passage above.]

And I firmly believe that my faith (that Hebrews 11:1-3 type of faith) has saved me. Now I pray that it’s strong enough to sustain me and grow me to serve my Lord until He takes me home to be with Him in eternity.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, sustain and grow my faith in You with works I might perform to honor and glorify 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.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

September 29, 2016: Throwing Stones

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 273  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Le’Andria Johnson singing … Cast the First Stone, poignantly singing of our need to let Jesus deal with our sins and avoid casting stones at or judging others who transgress against us.


Highlight Passage: John 8:7 [NKJV] …  
7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 
… Jesus turns the challenge of the Pharisees back on themselves.
============
Highlight Passage: 8:1-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK 
… The Pharisees came to test Jesus, sending an adulteress into His presence.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … Lamentations 3:22-23 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God’s willingness to extend His mercy never ends but is only available to those who’re in surrender to His grace.

Reference Passage #2 … John 14:19-21 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus showed that the way to His heart is through showing our love for Him by being obedient to Him and sharing God’s love with others.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Randy Kilgore, uses a familiar story about Jesus’ forgiveness to remind us of our need to forgive others. He writes: As a group of religious leaders herded an adulterous woman toward Jesus, they couldn’t know they were carrying her within a stone’s throw of grace. Their hope was to discredit Him. If He told them to let the woman go, they could claim He was breaking Mosaic law. But if He condemned her to death, the crowds following Him would have dismissed His words of mercy and grace. 
But Jesus turned the tables on the accusers. Scripture says that rather than answering them directly, He started writing on the ground. When the leaders continued to question Him, He invited any of them who had never sinned to throw the first stone, and then He started writing on the ground again. The next time He looked up, all the accusers were gone. 

Have you ever been in a place where you wanted to pick up a stone [well at least figuratively] and cast it at someone in your life whom you blamed for some transgression? I’d speculate that we’ve all been there and have worn that t-shirt, haven’t we?

Well, the story in John 8 tells that familiar encounter Jesus had with the pharisees who were to trying to trip our Savior up by casting a known adulterous before Him; and we know that Jesus turned their hatred on themselves by asking which of them had no sin and could cast the first stone.

Well, my friends, I don’t know about you; but I’ll not be throwing any stones at anyone else today.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, forgive my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against 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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September 28, 2016: He Prays for Me

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 272  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Twila Paris and Dennis Jernigan singing the song Dennis wrote … On My Knees, poignantly singing of the reality of our ALWAYS being able to be with our Lord when we’re on our knees in prayer.


Highlight Passage: Romans 8:34 [NKJV] …  
34 … It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, Who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 
… How we handle God’s providence measure where our heart lies.
============
Highlight Passage: Romans 8:22-34 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus prays for me and for all who know Him as Lord.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … Deuteronomy 31:8 [NKJV] …  
8 And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” 
… God not only won’t forsake us … He goes ahead of us … BTW also quoted in Heb. 13:5 about our Lord’s commitment to us.

Reference Passage #2 … Matthew 28:19-20 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… When Jesus’ commissioned us as His disciples, He told us He’d ALWAYS be with us … even to the end of time.

Reference Passage #3 … John 17:20-26 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus prayed for me the night before He went to the cross; and He prays for me today.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland, teaches a very comforting truth for Christians today. He writes: When we face a perplexing situation or a tough problem, we often ask our brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for us. It’s a great encouragement to know that others who care are holding us up to God in prayer. But what if you don’t have close Christian friends? Perhaps you live where the gospel of Christ is opposed. Who will pray for you? 
Romans 8, one of the great, triumphant chapters of the Bible, declares, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. . . . The Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Rom. 8:26–27). The Holy Spirit is praying for you today. 

Wow! … Do you get this, dear one? … No matter where we are as Christians; … no matter what we’re going through; … our Lord and His Spirit are praying for us. Yes, even when we don’t know how or what to pray!

And I don’t know about you, fellow readers with me here today; but after I took in Dennis Jernigan’s song (linked above) and realized the truth depicted in today’s Scriptures, I was lifted up with joy.

Yes, I’m so thankful when my Christians friends pray for me, … maybe even you praying for me. But, … my friends, … today, no less than my King Jesus prays for me … FOR ME … and for you!!

Today’s Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your prayers. Amen  

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

September 27, 2016: Letting Go for God

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 271  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Brian Littrell singing … I Surrender All, poignantly singing of the attitude we all should have of God’s providence … to surrender it all to Him.


Highlight Passage: Luke 12:34 [NKJV] …  
34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also 
… How we handle God’s providence measures where our heart lies.
============
Highlight Passage: Luke 12:22-34 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ...  
… Jesus teaching his followers on trusting all to God for Him to provide for our well being. 
===========

Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 8:18 [NKJV] …  
4 Riches and honor are with Me, … enduring riches and righteousness. 
… It’s all God’s anyway … why hold on like we own what we have been given.

Reference Passage #2 … Matthew 6:19-21 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus’ clear teaching in the Sermon on the Mount about how we handle what God has provided in our lives.

Reference Passage #3 … Mark 10:17-22 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus’ counsel to the rich young ruler as to what our attitude toward God’s riches should be.

Reference Passage #4 … 2nd Corinthians 9:6-7 [NKJV] …  
6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 
 … The Apostle Paul teaching on giving back to God from His providence.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Amy Boucher Pye, related a personal story, teaching about our giving back to God from what He has given us. She wrote: At the memorial service for my friend’s dad, someone said to her, “Until I met your father, I didn’t know a person could have fun while helping others.” Her dad contributed his part in helping to build the kingdom of God through serving people, laughing and loving, and meeting strangers who became friends. When he died, he left a legacy of love. In contrast, my friend’s aunt—her father’s older sister—viewed her possessions as her legacy, spending her latter years worrying about who would protect her heirlooms and rare books. 

I needed that reminder from ODB today as well as the Scriptures where Jesus taught about where our heart lies when we’re dealing with our money. It’s so easy to have the attitude of the “rich young ruler” when we deal with our money (see the Mark 10 passage), isn’t it? And someone once told me that all one would need to do is see our check book (or online account) and our calendar to see where our heart was when it comes to our real priorities in life [see Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34].

I have learned over the years as a Christian that Paul’s teaching on giving (see 2Cor. 9:6-7) is absolutely true; and that we can’t out give God, Who will always provide what we need in life. So, today’s ODB was a good reminder for me; … perhaps for you too.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, help me to do what Brian Littrell sings in the linked song today … to surrender all back to Your. 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, September 26, 2016

September 26, 2016: Seeking His Peace

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 270

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of the acapella group, Vocal Point, singing … Be Still My Soul, poignantly singing of the peace we can receive from God when we humbly bring our troubles to our Lord.


Highlight Passage: Matthew 11:28 [NKJV] …
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
… Seeking our peace by resting in Jesus.
============
Highlight Passage: Matthew 11:25-30 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ...
   … Our Lord is our only real source of peace.
===========


Reference Passage #1 … Psalm 23:4 [NKJV] …
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; … for Your are with me; … Your rod and staff, they comfort me. 
… Peace comes in following the Good Shepherd

Reference Passage #2 … Philippians 4:6-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul gives us God’s peace that surpasses all human understanding, which is ours when we bring our trials to the Lord in thankful prayer.

Reference Passage #3 … 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 says it too … to humbly bring our cares to God.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Joe Stowell, related a personal experience, teaching about finding God’s peace. He wrote: While attending a concert, my mind detoured to a troublesome issue that insisted on my attention. Thankfully, the distraction was short-lived as the words of a beautiful hymn began to reach deep into my being. A men’s a capella group was singing “Be Still, My Soul.” Tears welled up as I listened to the words and contemplated the restful peace that only God can give: ... [Hear the linked song above] 
"Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side! Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain; leave to thy God to order and provide; in every change He faithful will remain." 

Whom among us hasn't needed, … perhaps now needs, or … at some future time, will need peace from the turmoils of life? … Duh!!! … Well, that’s all of us! … And today’s ODB addresses God’s prescription for receiving His peace, … that peace that is way beyond human understanding.

And above, in the Scriptures provided, no less than Jesus Himself, King David, and the Apostles Paul and Peter, tell us where we can find God’s peace. But it will be ours only when we’re willing to come to God, humbly surrendering our troubles, with a heart of thanksgiving, and casting all our cares before God’s throne of grace, knowing and trusting that our God can provide us with His peace.

I don’t know about you; but … I’m in for some God’s peace today!!

Today’s Prayer: Lord, I lay my trials at Your feet, seeking your grace and peace. Amen

========================
PS: If you want to read a powerful little book, written by a Godly friend of mine, about seeking/finding God’s peace, GO TO THIS LINK to solve God’s equation for peace.
=============================

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, September 25, 2016

September 25, 2016: God’s Word Matters

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 269

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Kristyn & Keith Getty singing … Speak, O Lord, poignantly singing of God’s powerful word, speaking His truth into our lives as His disciples.


Highlight Passage: 1st John 4:1 [NKJV] …
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 
… John’s proclamation of the reality and power of Jesus being the “Word of Life!”
============
Highlight Passage: 1st John 4:1 [NLT] …
1 We proclaim to you the One who existed from the beginning, Whom we have heard and seen. We saw Him with our own eyes and touched Him with our own hands. He is the Word of life … 
... The NLT version of the highlight passage
===========
Highlight Context … 1st John 1:1-5 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… John declares that Jesus was (and is) the “Word of Life,” … i.e., He is the living word, which was seen and heard on earth in the flesh.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … Isaiah 55:11 [NKJV] …
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; … it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper the thing which I sent it. 
… God, Himself, thru Isaiah, declares the power and importance of His word.

Reference Passage #2 … 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul declares the reality and power of God’s word for our lives as Christians.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson, told a personal experience illustrating the power of God’s word. He wrote:  Early in my days of working as an editor for Our Daily Bread, I selected the cover verse for each month’s devotional.  After a while, I began to wonder if it made a difference. 
Not long after that, a reader wrote and described how she had prayed for her son for more than twenty years, yet he wanted nothing to do with Jesus. Then one day he stopped by to visit her, and he read the verse on the cover of the booklet that sat on her table. The Spirit used those words to convict him, and he gave his life to Jesus at that very moment. 

And I have my own personal experience of how God can use His word to change a life. On 4-13-83, I was a self-proclaimed and cynical agnostic who had been rejecting Christians who witnessed to me. But I was still seeking for “spiritual” strength in my life, primarily thru pursuing far-eastern mysticism.   Well, on that day, thru my secretary’s witness, she had put a brochure on my desk with a Bible verse on the cover: ”I can do all things thru Christ, Who gives me the strength.” - Phil. 4:13

And in that moment of my seeking for spiritual strength and the realization that the date was 4:13 and the Bible verse was 4:13, I broke down and received Christ as my Savior, and shortly thereafter surrendering all to Him as Lord. God had used one verse from His Holy Word to bring me to Himself. Therefore, … I fully recognize the power of God’s word to do what it says (see Is. 55:11 and 2Tim. 3:16-17).

That’s why you find me here in a place much like that one depicted in the attached photo, going daily and deeply into God’s word (as in the linked song for today) … to be reshaped into the image of my Lord/Savior. I pray that all who are reading with me today are into the same discipline of daily discipleship through God’s word.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, reshape us into Your image through Your living 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.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

September 24, 2016: Passing The Baton

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 268  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Alan Jackson singing … I Love to Tell The Story, poignantly singing of God’s people telling … “the old, old story of Jesus and His love.”


Highlight Passage: Psalm 78:4 [NKJV] …  
4 We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, … about His power and His mighty wonders. 
… We come thru the gates to His eternal city with hearts of praise …
===========
Highlight Context … Psalm 78:1-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
… Asaph, the Psalmist, sings of passing along the story of deliverance through the generations to God’s people, which should be our goal as well.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … Deuteronomy 4:9 [NKJV] …  
9 Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, … 
… Moses charging God’s people to pass on the truth of God’s deliverance to future generations.

Reference Passage #2 … 1st Peter 2:9, 3:15 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Peter, from God’s Spirit, exhorting God’s people (that’s us!) to be God’s chosen generation and be ready - ALWAYS - to share His truth with those in our sphere of influence.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, uses a sports analogy to charge Christians to be apologists for God’s truth. He wrote: I enjoy watching relay races. The physical strength, speed, skill, and endurance required of the athletes amaze me. But one crucial point of the race always gets my special attention and makes me anxious. It is the moment the baton is passed to the next athlete. [See attached photo] One moment of delay, one slip, and the race could be lost. 
In a sense, Christians are in a relay race, carrying the baton of faith and the knowledge of the Lord and of His Word. And the Bible tells us about our need to pass this baton from one generation to another. 

Today’s ODB highlight passage (from Psalm 78) has the Psalmist Asaph charging God’s people in song to pass the truth of God’s wondrous deliverance on to future generations. And in Deuteronomy 4:9 we read of Moses exhorting believers to pass God’s story on our children and grandchildren … and anyone else who will hear of God’s greatness … much as Alan Jackson sings in the linked song above.

Oh how I love to tell my story of how God delivered me from my evil past; and how He is reforming me into His image. And if you’re saved, … in Christ, … you probably have a story that others, especially the lost, need to hear.

So, as the Apostle Peter exhorted Christians (see 1st Peter 2:9 and 3:15), if/when God gives us the opportunity to share our story, let’s pass along the baton of victory to someone … maybe even today.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, open a window of opportunity for me to tell the old, old story to someone who needs to hear it. Amen  

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

Friday, September 23, 2016

September 23, 2016: Words of Comfort

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 267  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Carrie Underwood and Michael W Smith singing … All Is Well, poignantly singing words of comfort that we all need at times in times of testing trial, trouble, or temptation.

 
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 50:4 [NKJV] …  
4 The Sovereign Lord has given me His words of wisdom so that I know how to comfort the weary. 
… We come thru the gates to His eternal city with hearts of praise …
===========
Highlight Context … Isaiah 50:4-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… The Prophet speaks for God His words of comfort for any/all who need Him.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … 2nd Corinthians 1:3-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul, exhorting fellow Christians (yes, you and me!) to help comfort others as God has comforted us.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland, put forth a pertinent and poignant life lesson learned by a famous Christian writer. He wrote: A few days after his father died, 30-year-old C. S. Lewis received a letter from a woman who had cared for his mother during her illness and death more than two decades earlier. The woman offered her sympathy for his loss and wondered if he remembered her. “My dear Nurse Davison,” Lewis replied. “Remember you? I should think I do.” 
Lewis recalled how much her presence in their home had meant to him as well as to his brother and father during a difficult time. He thanked her for her words of sympathy and said, “It is really comforting to be taken back to those old days. The time during which you were with my mother seemed very long to a child and you became part of home.” 

I think we’ve all been in a place where we needed - or could provide - a few kind, empathetic, words of comfort. And when someone was there, as the nurse was for C.S. Lewis, it’s like our Lord being there with us to say, as the linked song today shares, ”All is well.”

Maybe today, as the Apostle Paul taught fellow Christians in 2nd Cor. 1 [linked above], one of us will be given a divine appointment to share God’s comfort with someone who needs it. If so, let’s be there for the one who needs God’s love.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, let me be Your conduit of comfort for someone who needs Your love 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, September 22, 2016

September 22, 2016: Enter the Gate of Faith

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 266  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Brian Derksen singing … Just As I Am , poignantly declaring the truth of coming to God just as we are … in faith … to receive God’s gift of saving grace.


Highlight Passage: Psalm 100:4 [NKJV] …  
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise … 
… We come thru the gates to His eternal city with hearts of praise …
===========
Highlight Context … Psalm 100 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK   … The Psalmist expresses God’s invitation for any/all to enter the gates of faith to His eternal city.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … John 10:9 [NKJV] …  
9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 
 … Jesus declares that He is the door (i.e., gate) to God’s Holy Kingdom.

Reference Passage #2 … John 14:6 [NKJV] …  
6 Jesus said to him [a disciple], “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 
 … No other gate to heaven buy through Jesus’ gates of faith.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Marin Williams, taught today on one of God’s most wondrous gifts … to come to Him with a heart of worship/faith to receive His eternal gift of salvation. He wrote: When you enter some of the greatest cities in the world, you can encounter famous gates such as the Brandenburg Gate (Berlin), the Jaffa Gate (Jerusalem), and the gates at Downing Street (London). Whether the gates were built for defensive or ceremonial purposes, they all represent the difference between being outside or inside certain areas of the city. Some are open; some are closed to all but a few. … The gates into the presence of God are always open. 

And aren’t we glad (you and me, fellow Christian) that God’s gate to eternal life is open to anyone, anytime that we ascend the staircase of repentance and enter through the gates Christ opened for us with His shed blood on the cross and His resurrection to open the doors to His eternal city (see attached photo).

Brian Doerksen, in the song linked above, sings the classic invitational hymn, Just As I Am; but Psalm 100, also linked, was an even more classic invitational hymn, wasn’t it? And I pray that any who read here, have taken our Lord up on His invitation to enter His eternal kingdom, with hearts of praise, worshipping the One Who has opened the only door to heaven (see passages in John 10 & 14).

Today’s Prayer: Lord, we who worship You, come through Your gates with praise to be 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.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

September 21, 2016: Out From the Fire

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 265  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Chris McClarney singing … Beauty for Ashes, poignantly declaring witness to God’s deliverance from the fiery trials of life.

 
Highlight Passage: James 1:2 [NKJV] …  
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, … 
… James knew that God uses the trials of life to produce Christlikeness in His Brother’s disciples. 
===========
Highlight Context … James 1:2-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus’ brother writing to Christians (you and me, too) who were facing great stresses. 
===========

Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Solomon knew that believers must learn to trust God no matter how hot the trials of life would get.

Reference Passage #2 … Daniel, Chapter 3 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus comes into the fiery furnace to save three who trusted in Him.

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 are not promised deliverance from trial … only to follow the One Who has overcome those tribulations.

Reference Passage #4 … 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, even the hottest of circumstances or trials … they are ALL for our good.

Reference Passage #5 … 1st Corinthians 10:13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
… Remember the word “temptation” in this passage can also be translated “test, trial, tribulation, or trouble” … which means God promises to help us thru any/all fiery trials.

Reference Passage #6 … 1st Peter 1:7, 4:12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Peter also taught about facing the fiery trials of life, knowing that Christians were going to have to face them to be reshaped into the image of our Savior.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, used a rather common biblical word picture to teach about facing the trials/challenges of life. He wrote: Fire can be one of the worst enemies of trees. But it can also be helpful. Experts say that small, frequent fires called “cool” fires clean the forest floor of dead leaves and branches but don’t destroy the trees. They leave behind ashes, which are perfect for seeds to grow in. Surprisingly, low-intensity fires are necessary for healthy growth of trees. 
Similarly, trials—pictured as fire in the Bible—are necessary for our spiritual health and growth. 

In today’s highlight Scripture, ODB author, Crowder, uses a very common teaching tool used in the Bible to depict what believers, more specifically we Christians, must face in order to allow God to refine, reform, and remake us into His image. And I have recopied or linked many of those biblical teachings or exhortations about facing the fiery trials of life above.

So, if any reader with me today has taken in the attached photo, the You Tube song by Chris McClarney, and all the Scriptures I’ve provided above, I could not add one ounce of word power to those expressions of God’s truth. … So, I won’t!

Today’s Prayer: Lord, THANKS YOU for even the fiery trials I go through to become more like 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.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

September 20, 2016: Seeing God’s Glory

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 264  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Gordon Mote singing … Don’t Let Me Miss the Glory, poignantly praying for God to show Himself even to him - a blind man.


Highlight Passage: Luke 24:27 [NKJV] …  
27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. 
… Jesus shows that His word allows us to see Him and life through His eyes.
===========
Highlight Context … Luke 24:13-32 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus helps two disciples see the world His way.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … Isaiah 55:11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God shows us His vision on Himself and the world through His word.

Reference Passage #2 … John 14:21 [NKJV] …  
21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 
… And the best place to learn/live His commandments is in/thru His word.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Mart DeHaan, uses an artful illustration to teach on doing all we can to see life through God’s eyes, rather than our own. He wrote: In the 1880s French artist Georges Seurat introduced an art form known as pointillism. As the name suggests, Seurat used small dots of color, rather than brush strokes of blended pigments, to create an artistic image [see example in attached photo]
Up close, his work looks like groupings of individual dots. Yet as the observer steps back, the human eye blends the dots into brightly colored portraits or landscapes. The big picture of the Bible is similar. Up close, its complexity can leave us with the impression of dots on a canvas. As we read it, we might feel like Cleopas and his friend on the road to Emmaus. They couldn’t understand the tragic “dotlike” events of the Passover weekend. 

In today's highlight Scripture, those two down-hearted disciples whom Jesus chose to walk with on their trek to Emmaus, were almost blinded to the truth of Whom Jesus was because of their own short-sightedness. But finally, Jesus opened their eyes to His glory when they recognized Him through His proclamation of God’s truth. 

And that’s what we, as disciples of Christ, must recognize. All too often we get blinded to the big-picture of Whom we serve and follow because we can’t see His glory because of our own human short-sightedness. And that’s why it’s so important to use God’s word to see Him and to be able perceive God’s glory; … yes, even in the growing darkness of this world.

In the song linked above, Gordon Mote, who is blind, pleas to God to let him not miss the glory and grace God has for us as we encounter life and can often see only what’s in front of us.    And that’s another reason why you find me here everyday, allowing God’s vision - from His word - to permeate the way I see life. I see my God - and the world - so much clearer through His word.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, PLEASE don’t let me miss seeing Your glory because of my near-sightedness. 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, September 19, 2016

September 19, 2016: Protecting Our Hearts

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 263

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Queen Latifah singing … Fix Me, Jesus, poignantly praying for Jesus to do what He needs to purify our minds/hearts to be able to serve Him for glory.


Highlight Passage: Philippians 4:8 [NKJV] …
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 
… God’s prescription to protect the purity of our hearts/minds.
===========
Highlight Context … Philippians 4:4-9 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God, thru Paul, warns of taking steps to protect the purity and health of our minds.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … Psalm 119: 9-11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God, thru the Psalmist, give His prescription for protecting our hearts from sin.

Reference Passage #2 … Proverbs 23:7 [NKJV] …
7 As a man (or woman) thinks in his (her) heart, so is he (she)! 
… We become what we allow into our minds.

Reference Passage #3 … 1st Corinthians 6:18-20 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul warns of polluting our lives with sexual sin.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Poh Fang Chiar, a teacher from Singapore, uses a personal illustration to teach about protecting our minds and hearts from impurity. She wrote: I love egg roti prata, a popular pancake in my country of Singapore. So I was intrigued to read that a 125-pound (57 kg) person must run 5 miles (8 km) per hour for 30 minutes to burn 240 calories. That’s equivalent to only one egg roti part. 
Ever since I started working out in the gym, those numbers have taken on a new significance for me. I find myself asking: Is this food worth the calories? 

Wow! I so personally identify with my ODB author/teacher today; because long ago I learned of the need to take pro-active steps - EVERY DAY - to protect my mind/heart from my own desires. Just recently, in fact, I had to change my diet and exercise patterns to lose about 12 pounds which I had let pollute God’s Temple due to gluttonous habits (see 1st Cor. 6:19, linked above).

So often we just don’t do what is necessary to protect our minds and hearts from our own sinful nature. And the Apostle Paul, from today’s highlight passage, was warning His disciples to beware of this tendency and protect our minds by pro-active and prescriptive meditation on God’s truth - DAILY, … even momentarily … to keep our minds/hearts pure (see Phil. 4:8). Because, we simply must realize the truth taught by Solomon in Proverbs 23:7(NKJV), … that we become what we allow into our minds. And God’s prescription to avoid our sin nature is to pour His truth into our minds (see also Psalm 119:9-10).

That’s why you find me here - EVERY DAY (!!!) - pouring God’s truth and his teaching into my mind and journaling what God’s Spirit gives my heart, … which quite recently caused me to be convicted of poor eating/exercise habits and led me to take action to purify the Temple of God’s Spirit, which is my mind/heart/body.

And I pray that we’re all taking steps to keep His Temple pure this day.

Today’s Prayer:  ... Lord, allow Your word to purify our hearts. 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, September 18, 2016

September 18, 2016: Waiting!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 262  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Sara Groves singing … I’ll Wait, poignantly declaring what should be the pursuit of all Christians … to live life waiting and preparing for the return of our Savior.

 
Highlight Passage: John 14:3 [NKJV] …  
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 
… Jesus preparing the way for all who would follow Him.
===========
Highlight Context … John 14:1-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus tells His Disciples of His preparing a way for them in Heaven.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … Revelation 19: 7-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… John describes His vision of what it will be like when the Bridegroom, Christ, comes for His Bride (the Church), who has been preparing for His return by preparing her linens [which are all the good works we do to glorify Him].

Reference Passage #2 … Revelation 22:20 [NKJV] …  
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” … Amen.  ... Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 
… I join John’s declaration that I’m ready for the Lord to return.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Cindy Hess Kasper, told a personal story to illustrate our ways of expressing our desire to prepare for death. She wrote: As we viewed my father-in-law’s body in his casket at the funeral home, one of his sons took his dad’s hammer and tucked it alongside his folded hands. Years later, when my mother-in-law died, one of the children slipped a set of knitting needles under her fingers. Those sweet gestures brought comfort to us as we remembered how often they had used those tools during their lives. 

Our ODB author went on to recognize that we can’t take those elements of life with us to heaven (see 1st Tim. 6:7); but expressions as described above help us in the here-and-now to express our desire to get ready for the hereafter.

But as the words of Jesus declare, in today’s highlight passage, … He has promised His disciples (yes, that’s you and me, too!!) that He will have our home ready for us when we get there. All we need to do is, as Sara Groves sings, wait and be ready for Him to come and get us. So that’s what this life is all about, … doing all we can to be ready when our Bridegroom comes for His Bride (the Church).

And that’s what the Apostle John was trying to convey in his Revelation (see passages above). I don’t know about you … but I’m ready today!

Today’s Prayer:   Come soon, King Jesus!! 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, September 17, 2016

September 17, 2016: Surviving In Christ

Today Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 261  

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 … He’ll Do Whatever It Takes, poignantly declaring the truth that God will do whatever He needs to to bring us to a shared relationship with Himself.


Highlight Passage: Psalm 55:22 [NKJV] …  
22 Cast your burden on the Lord, … and He shall sustain you; … He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. 
… God’s promise of deliverance and protection for His remnant of believers.
===========
Highlight Context … Psalm 55 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… David’s trust in God in the face of persecution and peril.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … 2nd Corinthians 12: 9-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul discovered that his humility and faith in God was more important that the pain he was experiencing.

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. 
… Peter believed and humbly trusted that God would lift him in deliverance from the trials of life.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, uses a common word picture to teach about God’s relentless design to bring His faithful into Christlikeness. She wrote: Sunlight glittered on the swimming pool in front of me. I overheard an instructor speaking to a student who had been in the water for quite a while. He said, “It looks like you’re getting tired. When you’re exhausted and in deep water, try the survival float.” 
Certain situations in life require us to spend our mental, physical, or emotional energy in a way that we can’t sustain.  David [see the highlight Psalm 55 above] described a time when his enemies were threatening him and he felt the emotional weight of their anger.  He needed to escape the distress he was experiencing. 

But David had faith In His God to deliver any true believer, like himself, from the pits of despair and destruction. The Apostle Paul and Peter (see reference passages above) had to learn that lesson the hard way as well. And often we are led into circumstances in life which God uses to reshape us into His own image and bring us closer to Himself.

And those of us reading here together need to learn those faith-building lessons as well, which teach us the truth which Phillips, Craig, and Dean sing about in their linked song above. Our God is going to do whatever it takes to bring us to Himself. So, dear one, get ready for His faith-building lesson today.

My Prayer Today:   Heavenly Father, … help me to pay attention, Lord, and accept what you’re doing in my life today to bring me closer to 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, September 16, 2016

September 16, 2016: Sweet Smell of Victory

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 260  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from the Christ Church Choir in worship, singing … Sweet Aroma of Praise, prayerfully sing praises to God which becomes a sweet aroma to our Lord.


Highlight Passage: 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 [NKJV] …  
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 
… Paul knew that Christians living out their salvation, with the fruitfulness of Christ, would become a sweet aroma of praise for God.
===========
Highlight Context … 2 Corinthians 2:12-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul teaches about what we become to God when we live out His salvation in life … a sweet smelling aroma of His grace.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … 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. 
… The fruit of the Spirit lived out in the life of any Christian becomes a sweet aroma of praise to God.

Reference Passage #2 … Ephesians 2:8-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
… We have been released from the putrid smell of sin to live out our good works for God’s glory, which become His incense of praise and a sweet aroma for Him.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Keila Ochoa, uses the Apostle Paul’s word picture to teach on how our Spirit-led lives become a sweet aroma of fruitfulness to our God. She wrote: Among the ancient Roman military elite, the greatest honor afforded a general was after a military triumph. The general of the victorious army would parade through the streets of Rome as crowds shouted their praise. [See attached photo] The aroma of the incense that burned on the altars in the pagan temples would waft over the city during this time of celebration. 
 In today’s reading, Paul uses this picture to describe the triumph we have as believers in Jesus Christ: “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Cor. 2:14). Paul understood that we spread the aroma of the knowledge of Christ to others. 

As I listened to the linked song today, Sweet Aroma of Praise, and meditated on the Apostle Paul’s teaching in the Scriptures above, I had to ask myself if my life had become, or was becoming, the sweet smell of fruitfulness (see Gal. 5:22-23), overcoming the putrid stench of sin, in my life.

And I pray that today’s ODB brings us all to search deep in Paul’s imagery to see if our lives are a sweet-smelling aroma of the victory Christ won for us on the Cross.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord, may my life become a sweet smelling incense of praise to Your favor … 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, September 15, 2016

September 15, 2016: Helping Each Other

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 259  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from tan anonymous ensemble in worship, singing … We Are The Body of Christ, prayerfully declaring that we who are in Christ are His body in this life/world, reaching out in His Name and for His glory to meet the needs of the body.


Highlight Passage: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 [NKJV] …  
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 
… In Christ, we become His hands and feet to go and comfort others in need.
===========

Highlight Context … 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul teaches from God on His “Body,” the Church, reaching out to help each other in times of need/suffering.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … Matthew 28:18-20 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Christ’s GREAT COMMISSION for us to become His disciples, becoming His hands/feet on earth.

Reference Passage #2 … Romans 12:4-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
… One Body, using our gifts to serve in Christ’s Name and for God’s glory.

Reference Passage #3 … 1st Corinthians 12:20-27 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
… Again ONE Body serving in His Name on earth to meet the needs of the Body.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Phillip Yancey, uses the Apostle Paul’s often used word picture … that WE, who are in Christ, become His body, serving Him and reading out to meet the needs of His body on earth. He wrote: “The body of Christ” is a mysterious phrase used more than 30 times in the New Testament. The apostle Paul especially settled on that phrase as an image of the church. After Jesus ascended to heaven, He turned over His mission to flawed and bumbling men and women. He assumed the role of head of the church, leaving the tasks of arms, legs, ears, eyes, and voice to the erratic disciples—and to you and me. 

It’s more than just a spiritual cliche; … it’s reality, isn’t it? When Jesus left this earth, promising to return, after His resurrection, He commissioned us, the CHURCH, to become His “body” on earth (see the “Great Commission” in Matthew 28). Then, His emissaries and missionaries, men like the Apostle Paul, taught us that we, who are in Christ, TOGETHER, become His body on earth, … equipped to reach out and help each other in times of suffering or need.

So, being part of that Body, … Christ’s Body, … how can we be our Lord’s feet, eyes, and hands today?

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord, let me reach out, in Your Name and for the Father’s glory, and help or encourage 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.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

September 14, 2016: Here Again With God!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 258 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from the group, Hillsong, leading in worship and singing … I Surrender, prayerfully declaring the desire of all in Christ to come to our Lord and worship Him for eternity.


Highlight Passage: John 6:68-69 [NKJV]
 68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 
… Peter, speaking for the other Disciples, declares their allegiance to their Messiah and the Son of God. 
===========
Highlight Context … John 6:53-69 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Following Jesus is following the Lord for time eternal.
===========

 Reference Passage #1 … 2nd Corinthians 12:9a [NKJV]
 8 And Jesus said to me (Paul), … “My grace is sufficient for You; …” 
 … Paul realizes that Jesus is all he needs to deal with the trials of life.

Reference Passage #2 … Hebrews 13:8 [NKJV]
 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 
 … Worshipping Jesus today is worshipping Him for eternity.

My Journal for Today: … Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland, uses a comparison of the greatness and age-old influence of Shakespeare to that of the eternal sovereignty of God. He wrote: During 2016, theater companies in Britain and around the world have staged special productions to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Concerts, lectures, and festivals have drawn crowds who celebrate the enduring work of the man widely considered to be the greatest playwright in the English language. Ben Jonson, one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, wrote of him, “He was not of an age, but for all time.” 

And if the British Bard can have that kind of influence on people over the ages, what should be the eternal influence and power for Christians which Jesus, Who is the sovereign God, has upon our lives? And that, my fellow Christian reader, is why you find me here EVERY DAY seeking time alone with my Lord, … praying for His grace, … and delving into His truth.

Think about it, my friends!! … When we develop a daily, disciplined, devotional time with God, we are choosing to come in surrender, Hillsong sings, to the living Lord, just as the Apostles (well, most of them) came to realize after Jesus had fed thousands on that hillside near Capernaum [see the passage in John 6].

And we are seeking relational time with the very God of time, … desiring to be reshaped by His Spirit, into the image of our Lord, … Who is the same … yesterday, today, and forever. Don’t you think such an attitude of surrender will be honored gladly with God’s grace of enlightenment, enrichment, and empowerment? And personally, I’m way selfish enough to want as much of that as I can glean … EVERY DAY!

So, you will find me back here tomorrow again, having quiet and surrendered time with God Almighty; and I pray that you’re having your time with Him today.

My Prayer Today: O, Heavenly Father, … Lord, fill me up with Your grace 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, September 13, 2016

September 13, 2016: Surrender Wins!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 257  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Brian Littrell singing … I Surrender All, prayerfully singing of the attitude which should be held by all disciples of Christ - SURRENDER … and THEN TO THIS LINK to hear Steven Curtis Chapman singing His Strength Is Perfect, declaring that God’s strength is always there for the surrendered Christian who walks with/in Him.

 
Highlight Passage: 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.
… The fruit of walking in the Spirit.
===========
Highlight Context … Galatians 5:16-25 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
 … Paul exclaims the fruit of our life as Christians … for the flesh or in the Spirit.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … 1st Corinthians 10:13 [NKJV] …  
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 
… The results (“fruit”) of walking in the Spirit.

Reference Passage #2 … 2nd Corinthians 12:9 [NKJV] …  
9 And He said to me,T“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. 
… Jesus promise His sufficiency of grace to Paul in the midst of painful circumstances.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Jaime Garrido, teaches on the difficulty of surrendering and walking in the Spirit to achieve self-control in our lives. He wrote: Self-control is probably one of the hardest things to master. How often have we been defeated by a bad habit, a lousy attitude, or a wrong mindset? We make promises to improve. We ask someone to hold us accountable. But deep inside, we know that we don’t have the will or the ability to change. We can talk, we can plan, we can read self-help books, but we still find it difficult to overcome and control many of the things that are inside us! 

Can I get a witness to our ODB teaching today? How many of us have had some bad habit or sin stronghold in our lives that we desired, but found so difficult, to avoid or conquer. The Apostle Paul certainly knew that when he penned God’s list of the fruit of the Spirit in Gal. 5:22-23, listing “self-control” last on the list of Christlike characteristics we will see develop in the Christian who walks in the Spirit as opposed to walking in the flesh (see Gal. 5:19-21).

So, how do we come to walk in the Spirit and develop the self-control we need to avoid flesh-driven lusts? Well, the answer to that question, and the key to consistent Christlikeness in our lives as disciples, is a stark irony; and that is that we can only find the power to resist temptation (see 1st Cor. 10:13) by surrendering to the Holy Spirit to receive His empowering grace (see 2nd Cor. 12:9), which, in turn, gives us the power to have self-control.

Therefore, if anyone here still has some resisting stronghold of sin in our lives, it’s apparent that we need to go deeper into surrender mode to receive God’s strength to cover our weakness. Listen, in an attitude of meditation, to the songs linked above, which will help us go deeper into surrender and walk in the Spirit.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … I surrender !!! 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, September 12, 2016

September 12, 2016: Waiting for Our Groom

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 256  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Peter, Paul, and Marry singing … The Wedding Song, often played at weddings to celebrate the presence of God’s Spirit in the joining of two in Christ, which is a picture of Jesus coming again as the Groom for His Bride, the Church.

 
Highlight Passage: Matthew 25:13 [NKJV] …  
13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. …” 
… Jesus exhorts all to be watchful and ready for His return.
===========
Highlight Context … Matthew 25:1-13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus teaches on being ready for His coming again.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … John 14:1-4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus promises His disciples of His return as their Bridegroom.

Reference Passage #2 … 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… We don’t know when, but we do know that our Bridegroom is coming again for His Bride, the Church.

Reference Passage #3 … Revelation 19:6-9 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God’s revelation of the coming wedding feast of the Lamb of God, coming to wed His Bride, the Church, who has been preparing for the Wedding.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Amy Boucher Pye, used a story of a wedding day to illustrate Christ’s coming again as the Bridegroom for His Bride and the Bride’s preparation for the wedding day. She wrote: “I’m hungry,” said my eight-year-old daughter. “I’m sorry,” I said, “I don’t have anything for you. Let’s play tic-tac-toe.” We had been waiting over an hour for the bride to arrive at the church for what was supposed to be a noon wedding. 
As I wondered how much longer it would be, I hoped I could occupy my daughter until the wedding started. As we waited, I felt like we were enacting a parable. … I knew if I went to fetch some crackers, the bride could come at any moment and I would miss her entrance. As I employed many distraction techniques with my hungry daughter, I also thought about Jesus’s parable about the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1–13). 

That parable, and a lot of the New Testament [see Scriptures above], promises and teaches that the Wedding Feast of the Lamb of God is coming, when Jesus, as the Bridegroom will return for His Bride, the Church; and we are admonished to be ready - at any time - for His return.

Please meditate deeply on the Scriptures above, because they charge all Christians, as Christ’s Bride, to be preparing for His return to claim us, the Church, to be with Him at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb and for eternity.

And His question resounds deeply, … “Are you ready?” 

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … I’m ready. Come soon, Lord Jesus!! 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, September 11, 2016

September 11, 2016: Celebrate and Grieve

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 255  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from the violin ensemble playing the tragic hymn as the Titanic sank … Nearer My God To Thee, poignantly playing just as we celebrate the lives and grieve the loss of those who died aboard that ship and those who perished in the twin-towers (see attached photo) on 9/11/01.

 
Highlight Passage: Acts 1:8 [NKJV] …  
3 Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually; … You have given the commandment to me, for YOU are my rock and my fortress. 
… God is our strong tower ALWAYS!!
===========
Highlight Context … Psalm 71:1-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… The Psalmist trusts God as his “strong tower,” no matter what transpires.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NKJV] …  
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on our own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. 
… Trusting in God no matter what our minds tell us.

Reference Passage #2 … Romans 8:28 [NKJV] …  
28 All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purpose. 
… Yes, … even 9/11 !!

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Dennis Fisher, remembered the horror of 9/11 as we re-grieve the loss of those thousands. He wrote: On September 11, 2001, Stanley Praimnath was working on the 81st floor of the World Trade Center South Tower when he saw an airplane flying directly toward him. Stanley prayed a quick prayer as he dove under a desk for protection: “Lord, I can’t do this! You take over!” 
The terrible impact of the plane crash trapped Stanley behind a wall of debris. But as he prayed and cried for help, Brian Clark, a worker from another office, heard and responded. Making their way through rubble and darkness, the two found their way down 80 flights of stairs to the ground floor and out. 

And as I pondered that story of one saved on that tragic day, I was taken back to remember the tragic loss of life on the Titanic and the image of that violin ensemble playing Nearer My God To Thee as the ship sank and thousands were lost that day in that seemingly needless tragedy … just as on 9/11. 

Sometimes God allows senseless tragedies, like these two, to remind us that He is our “strong tower;” and when we’re out of control, we can always go to Him as did Stanley Praimnath on that fateful morning in 2001. God saves some and others not; and often we don’t have a clue why. But no matter what our minds tell us - or don’t - we can, … and MUST, … rely and trust on God as our strong tower just as the Psalmist did in writing Psalm 71.

And so, as we remember 9/11 and meditate on the Psalm and Scriptures above, let us revel in the mercy and love our God shares with us every day we breathe on this earth.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord, … we do trust in You … 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, September 10, 2016

September 10, 2016: Called To Witness

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 254  

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 reality that we often walk by people every day who need Jesus as their Lord.


Highlight Passage: 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[a] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 
… Our commission as Christians to be Christ’s witnesses; and God’s promise of power in the process.
===========
Highlight Context … Acts 1:1-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus charges His disciples to go and be His Gospel witnesses to the world.
===========

Reference Passage #1 … Matthew 28:18-20 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Our “Great Commission” from Jesus to go into the world and “make disciples”

Reference Passage #2 … Mark 16:14-16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Mark’s version of Jesus sharing the “great commission.”

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Dave Branon, shared a story of a young lady on a mission trip taking the commission to witness for Christ seriously He wrote: Evie was one of 25 American teenagers in a high school choir who traveled to Jamaica to sing, witness, and show God’s love to people of a different culture and generation. And for Evie, one day of that trip was particularly memorable and joy-filled. That day, the choir went to a nursing home to sing [see attached photo] and visit with the residents. 
After they sang, Evie sat down with a young woman who lived at the home, a woman in her early 30s. As they began to chat, Evie felt that she should talk about Jesus—who He is and what He did for us. She showed her verses in the Bible that explained salvation. Soon the woman said she wanted to trust Jesus as her Savior. And that’s just what she did. 

Well, today, we, as Christians, may not be on a mission trip or in a choir sharing Christ in a nursing home; but, as Steve Green sings (linked above) we may walk by many people who are lost and need Jesus. Perhaps we should pray for brief encounters or opportunities (“divine appointments,” if you will) to share our Gospel witness with someone. And who knows, as with young Evie, we may have the opportunity to be used by God’s Spirit to change someone’s eternal destiny.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Lord, … Help me to be aware and share You with anyone You lead to me to be Your witness. 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.