Monday, October 31, 2016

October 31, 2016: God’s Retirement Plan

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 305  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Alan Jackson singing the old hymn … Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus … singing of God’s promise of our eternal security in His saving grace.


Highlight Verse[s]: 1st Peter 1:3-4 [NKJV] …  
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, …
… Writing of God’s promise of eternal inheritance to a people who were being oppressed unto death by Nero …
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Highlight Context: 1st Peter 1:3-9 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Peter, writing of God’s promise of eternal security in Christ.
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Reference Passage #1 …Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God, thru Solomon, passes along the trust we have in God’s eternal security.

Reference Passage #2 … Hebrews 11:6 [NKJV] …  
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 
… Our faith in God’s promises is our hope … our security.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David Branon, in teaching about our eternal inheritance in Christ, uses a common fear as his illustration. He wrote: When I asked a friend who is about to retire what she feared about her next stage of life, she said, “I want to make sure I don’t run out of money.” The next day as I was talking to my financial counselor he gave me advice on how I might avoid running out of money. Indeed, we all want the security of knowing we’ll have the resources we need for the rest of our lives. 
No financial plan can provide an absolute guarantee of earthly security. But there is a plan that extends far beyond this life and indefinitely into the future. 

I would say, and wouldn’t you agree, that it’s pretty common for people in these troubled times, especially us older folks, to be concerned - if not fearful - about our financial security? Well, imagine the fears of the people to whom Peter was writing his letters in the first century (see highlight passages above). These Christians were being persecuted unto death by Nero; and they were laying their eternal hopes on their relationship with and faith in Christ.

 And really, what Peter wrote to those 1st century Christians in Asia Minor is no different than the hope/faith we have today in our eternal destiny and inheritance in Christ. As the attached photo depicts, our retirement plan in Christ is way “out of this world!” In our faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross, we are guaranteed - did you get that? … GUARANTEED! … inheritance of His kingdom … ALL OF IT - … FOREVER! 

So, all we have to do is what Alan Jackson sings (linked) and turn our eyes of hope on Jesus; and He’ll take care of us. ... Not a bad retirement plan, wouldn’t you say?!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … My hope is in You, 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.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

October 30, 2016: Hearing God Speak

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 304 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Twila Paris and Dennis Jernigan singing Dennis’ song … On My Knees … singing of the best strategy we have to hear God’s voice in our lives.


Highlight Verse[s]: 1st Samuel 3:10 [NKJV] …
10 Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” … And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” 
… Samuel learned to set aside self and listen for His Lord.
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Highlight Context: 1st Samuel 3:1-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… The Prophet Samuel learns from Eli how to hear God’s voice.
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Reference Passage #1 …Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God, thru Solomon, passes along the way to tune our hearts and minds to better hear Him calling us.

Reference Passage #2 … Philippians 4:6-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… We will only find God’s peace when we’re able to shun anxiety, get alone with God in prayer, and humbly seek His voice.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Amy Boucher Pye, in teaching about discerning God’s call on our lives, used a personal illustration then a biblical story to make her point. She wrote: I felt like I was underwater, sounds muffled and muted by a cold and allergies. For weeks I struggled to hear clearly. My condition made me realize how much I take my hearing for granted. 
Young Samuel in the temple must have wondered what he was hearing as he struggled out of sleep at the summons of his name (1 Sam. 3:4). Three times he presented himself before Eli, the high priest. Only the third time did Eli realize it was the Lord speaking to Samuel. The word of the Lord had been rare at that time (v. 1), and the people were not in tune with His voice. But Eli instructed Samuel how to respond (v. 9). 

At times we have trouble tuning in and clearly discerning God’s voice, don’t we? We let unresolved on unconfessed sin create personal static; or we get so wrapped up in self that we can’t hear the Savior’s call. It’s in those times we need to do what Dennis Jernigan and Twila Paris sing in the linked song above … to go to a quiet place, set aside personal desires, and listen for God’s voice.

And as with Samuel, God will honor our humility and surrender; and we can more clearly hear His call or His voice and find His peace, … but only when we can set aside our selfish static and, in surrender, humbly seek His call in prayer [see Prov. 3:5-6 and Phil. 4:6-7 above].

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … I’m here seeking to hear Your voice. Speak to me clearly, 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.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

October 29, 2016: Praying for Others

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 303  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Jim Rice, from the group Brush Arbor, singing about a prayer … Hello God … with a prayer in song the heart of one who desperately needs a Savior.


Highlight Verse[s]: John 17:9 [NKJV] …  
9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. …” 
… Jesus prays for His disciples, … including you and me!
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Highlight Context: John 17:6-26 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus, knowing He was to be betrayed and crucified, prayed for those who would come after Him. ===========

Reference Passage #1 …2nd Corinthians 1:3-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul, having been through so much, shows compassion/care for fellow Christians who suffer for Christ’s sake.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland, in teaching about reaching out to pay for those in need, wrote of Jesus’ prayer for His disciples. He wrote: Hours before Judas betrayed Him, Jesus prayed for His disciples. “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your Name, the Name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one” (John 17:11). Knowing what was about to happen, Jesus looked beyond Himself to focus on His followers and friends. 

And the ODB author today also wrote about a hospitalized and dying patient who became known for his prayer witness for other patients in need of healing [use link below to read this illustration]. And that’s my take-away today from this ODB entry; … that all too often I pray with an attitude of MY NEEDS, rather than first thinking - and praying - for others around me who are need God’s help or healing beyond mine.

And so, … right now, … I’m stopping to pray for many suffering friends, known to me, who need prayer, … knowing that my Lord, knows their needs and prays for them as well.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, You’ve heard my prayers for those in need; and You know far more in my life who desperately need help/healing. Lift them up, dear Holy Spirit! … 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, October 28, 2016

October 28, 2016: Too Many To Count!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 302  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from a Guy Penrod singing the old hymn version os … Count Your Blessings … which exhorts us to take account of all God has done for us, especially when we’re encumbered by the trials of life.

 
Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 139:17-18 [NKJV] …  
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; and when I awake, I am still with You. 
… King David sings of how precious are God’s gifts (i.e., blessings) … too many to count. 
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Highlight Context: Psalms 139:14-18 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God, in song, delineates the wonders of His blessings in our life.
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Reference Passage #1 … Psalm 40:5 [NKJV] …  
5  Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to you in order. If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. 
… Clearly, … we cannot even count all of God’s blessings in our life, can we?

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. 
…With this truth, we need to reflect and count our blessings every day, remembering how God delivers us thru times of trial.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Keila Ochoa, in teaching, for the second OBD entry in a row, about God’s blessings, uses a personal story. She wrote: My son is learning to count from one to ten [see attached photo]. He counts everything from toys to trees. He counts things I tend to overlook, like the wildflowers on his way to school or the toes on my feet. My son is also teaching me to count again. 
Often I become so immersed in things I haven’t finished or things I don’t have that I fail to see all the good things around me. … My ten fingers are not enough to count all that God gives me day by day. 

Okay, (I say to God), … I get it! … Two days in a row the ODB entries, by two separate independent authors, have reminded readers (me) that God’s blessings are so gracefully given that we, so very often, either miss them, take them for granted, or just don’t see them as blessings. And I think this is especially true when we encounter the trials of life and we are encompassed by hardships or pain.

But, as Guy Penrod sings in the linked song and King David wrote in his two songs cited today, we so often need to sit down, as Keila Ochoa’s son did, and count those things around us which God has given us for our own good (see also Romans 8:28).

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Thank You, Lord, for the repeated reminder to take note of Your providence and blessings in my life. … Amen  

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

Thursday, October 27, 2016

October 27, 2016: Blessings In Reflection

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 301  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from a Gaither gathering with the Martins singing … Count Your Blessings … a song joyously reflecting on all the blessings God has wrought in our lives.


Highlight Verse[s]: Numbers 33:2 [NKJV] …  
2 Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the Lord. And these are their journeys according to their starting points: … 
… Moses reflects and chronicles the blessings of God on the journey of His people in history. 
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Highlight Context: Numbers 33:1-49 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Moses reflects on God’s blessings upon His people in their trek from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land.
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Reference Passage #1 … Job 1:13-22 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… In all Job lost before Satan, he was able to hold onto his faith in His God.

Reference Passage #2 … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God’s charge to true believers to never forget His willingness to lead us through trials, trusting in even the challenges as blessings.

Reference Passage #3 … Romans 8:28 [NKJV] …  
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 
…With this truth, we need to reflect and count our blessings every day, remembering how God delivers us thru times of trial.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David Roper, in teaching on reflecting on our blessings, went back to Moses writing of those times when God delivered His People. He wrote: Numbers 33 is a chapter in the Bible we might pass by without reflection. It appears to be nothing more than a long list of places tracing Israel's pilgrimage from Rameses in Egypt to their arrival in the plains of Moab. But it must be important because it’s the only section in Numbers that follows with the words: “At the Lord’s command Moses recorded . . .” (v. 2). 
Why keep a record of this? Could it be that this list provides a framework upon which the Israelites emerging from the wilderness could retrace that forty-year journey in their thoughts and recall God's faithfulness at each location? 

And today’s ODB entry caused me to go back, as did Moses in the highlight passage, and do what the Martin Family sings in today’s linked song … to “count our blessings.” And they are SO MANY in my life! … Oh, … sure I’ve been through a lot of brokenness and heartache in my over seven decades of life; but when I really reflect … honestly and carefully … on my years, just as did Job in the first chapter of his journal (see Job 1:13-22), I have to say that my challenges, though very real and often painful, were some of my greatest blessings.

So, perhaps any readers here today will join me in reflecting on the truth of Romans 8:28, recognizing that any/all trials in our lives were for our good; and no matter what we’re going through and where God is leading us, we must trust Him completely (see Prov. 3:5-6).

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Show me the way, Lord, … and thanks for the blessings of trials in my life, which show me Your love. … Amen  

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October 26, 2016: Glowing In The Dark

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 300  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Jason Gray singing his song… Glow In The Dark … a song expressing the reality of Jesus’ charge that we, as His disciples, become shining lights of truth in a very dark - and ever darkening - world.


Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 5:14 [NKJV] …  
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. … “ 
… Jesus on His disciples becoming shining lights in a dark world.
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Highlight Context: Matthew 5:1-16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus teaches/preaches God’s kingdom values to His followers in His Sermon on the Mount. 
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Reference Passage #1 … 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’s charge at His ascension for His disciples to be His light of witness to the world.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Dennis Fisher, tells a personal story about how a work group became a shining light for Christ in their work-a-day world. He wrote: Not long ago I went to a seamstress to have some clothing altered. As I entered her shop I was encouraged by what I saw on the walls. One sign read, “We can mend your clothes but only God can mend your heart.” Near it was a painting of Mary Magdalene weeping in anguish as the risen Christ was about to reveal Himself to her. Another sign asked, “Need prayer? Let us pray with you.” 

And when we, as Christians, creatively, yet assertively, are willing to put our faith out there in a dark - and every darkening - world, we become the lights Jesus taught about in His sermon on the mount [see today’s highlight passage]. And, as well, we fulfill one of His last commands to His disciples (that includes you an me!); and that is to be His shining witnesses in our world [see Acts 1:8]. 

Today’s ODB asks of me if I’m doing enough to shine the Light of Christ through my life and out into the darkening world around me. That’s my challenge; but it asks the same of all who read with me here today. So, … as Jason Gray sings in the linked song, are we glowing in the dark for Christ?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Shine, Jesus, shine through my life. … Amen  

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October 25, 2016: Blessings In Disguise

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 299  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Laura Story singing the testimony song she wrote … Blessings … a song expressing the truth that the blessings in our life are often disguised as the challenges and trials we encounter.


Highlight Verse[s]: 2nd Corinthians 12:9 [NKJV] …  
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
… God grace and blessing often come masked in pain.
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Highlight Context: 2nd Corinthians 12:6-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul encountered a “thorn,” which helped give him God’s blessing of enabling/empowering grace.
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Reference Passage #1 …Romans 8:28 [NKJV] …  
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 
… Yes … ALL things, … even the tests, trials, and tribulations of life.

Reference Passage #2 … Philippians 4:11-13 [NKJV] …USE THIS LINK 
 … Paul learned, as should we, that God would give him the strength to be contented in all situations of life.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Dave Roper, tells a personal story of a lesson he learned the hard way in life. He wrote: A number of years ago I wrote an essay about my collection of canes, staffs, and walking sticks and mused that I might someday graduate to a walker. Well, the day has come. A combination of back issues and peripheral neuropathy has left me pushing a three-wheel walker. I can’t hike; I can’t fish; I can’t do many of the things that used to bring me great joy. 
I’m trying to learn, however, that my limitation, whatever it may be, is a gift from God, and it is with this gift that I am to serve Him. This gift and not another. This is true of all of us, whether our limits are emotional, physical, or intellectual. 

The Apostle Paul had to learn that lesson the hard way too. And we read about God allowing Satan to give Paul a “thorn,” … some painful condition which Paul could not pray away and from which God would not deliver him. Then the Apostle remembered Jesus teaching him that God’s grace would ALWAYS give him the grace to deal with the often painful challenges of life.

And as Laura Story, in her poignant testimonial song, linked above, sings, … we often come to realize that the BLESSINGS of life are sometimes disguised as the challenges we encounter. That’s what Paul learned from his “thorn,” didn’t he? And he came to realize that he could be contented in any situation of life (see Phil. 4:11-13); and that truly ALL THINGS do work for the good of any who surrender to the Lordship of Christ (yes, the tough truth of Rom. 8:28).

I don’t know about any who’re reading with me here; but I needed to get that strong reminder today. Perhaps you did too!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Thank You for Your strengthening and sanctifying grace, which is always a blessing, … even in the pain we encounter in life. … Amen  

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

Monday, October 24, 2016

October 24, 2016: Turning Away from Me

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 298  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Danny Gokey singing … Tell Your Heart To Beat Again … a song reflecting the life we experience when we turn from sin and death to walk toward the call of the Savior.


Highlight Verse[s]: Ezekiel 18:30 [NKJV] …  
30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. … "
 … God is faithful to help us through even the most challenging patches of life.
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Highlight Context: Ezekiel 18:25-32 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God, thru Ezekiel, commands His people to repent of their sinful ways.
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Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NKJV] …USE THIS LINK 
… Our Lord wants us to live to follow Him, trusting His call to repentance.

Reference Passage #2 … Luke 9:23 [NKJV] …  
23 Then He said to them all, … “If anyone would follow Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. … “ 
… Jesus’ call to repentance and to follow Him is simple … but oh so hard!

Reference Passage #3 … Romans 8:13 [NKJV] …  
13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. … The choice is ours!!

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, tells a story about her sons hobby of building robot, which were programmed to do exactly what he wanted them to do. But then Schuldt wrote: When God created humans, He didn’t make robots. God made us in His image, and this means we can think, reason, and make decisions. We’re able to choose between right and wrong. Even if we have made a habit of disobeying God, we can decide to redirect our lives. 

And that’s why, as God did thru Ezekiel in today’s highlight passages above, our Lord calls us to repent of our natural self and the death which results … and to turn, in repentance, to His free gift of eternal life. And that’s the good news of the Gospel, … that we can make that choice! He provided a way - HIS WAY - through His Son to CHOOSE life over death … righteousness over sin.

But we must choose! We must repent; and then once that done deal is completed; and we’ve repented to receive His saving grace, God’s offer is a life free from from our selves until we’re with Him in glory. But once again, it takes REPENTANCE, (see attached photo), which means choosing to walk the walk of repentance, turning each day, even moment-by-moment, to walk away from selfishness and toward the call of the Savior [see the reference passages above].

It’s a simple choice (I didn’t say EASY!!); and and we have the power to make that choice in Christ.  And I pray we’re all walking that walk of repentance today.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Almost every day, I pray, as I do today, that You shine Your light so brightly on my path that I can’t help but follow You. Amen  

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

Sunday, October 23, 2016

October 23, 2016: He’s With Us

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 297  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Stephen Curtis Chapman and with him singing … His Strength Is Perfect … a song I often go to when I’m feeling weak in mind, body, or faith.

 
Highlight Verse[s]: Jeremiah 1:8 [NKJV] …  
8 Do not be afraid of their faces, for I AM with you to deliver you,” says the Lord! 
… God is faithful to help us through even the most challenging patches of life.
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Highlight Context: Jeremiah 1:1-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jeremiah, is given a difficult charge but also the promise of God’s strength to deal with his prophetic and difficult life ahead …
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Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… But do we really trust our Lord to lead us.

Reference Passage #2 … Isaiah 26:3 [NKJV] …  
3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. 
… If we desire to have God’s peace, we have to stay focused on Him and not on our selves or our circumstances.

Reference Passage #3 … Philippians 4:13 [NKJV] …  
9  I can do all things through Christ, Who gives me the strength. 
… It’s the message of the song from Stephen Curtis Chapman linked above.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, who is from Ghana, tells a story of personal threat to illustrate how Christians must deal with the troubles in life. He wrote: When I served as an intern for a Christian magazine, I wrote a story about a person who had become a Christian. In a dramatic change, he said goodbye to his former life and embraced his new Master: Jesus. A few days after the magazine hit the street, an anonymous caller threatened, “Be careful, Darmani. We are watching you! Your life is in danger in this country if you write such stories.” 
That was not the only time I have been threatened for pointing people to Christ. On one occasion a man told me to vanish with the tract I was giving him or else! In both cases, I cowered. But these were only verbal threats. Many Christians have had threats carried out against them. In some cases simply living a godly lifestyle attracts mistreatment from people. 

We all have times in our lives when we feel threatened or highly stressed; and we may even feel like we don’t have the strength to handle what we’re going through. But in such times don’t you just love to be lifted up by meditating on stories of faith like Moses leading God’s people from Egypt, … or Elijah’s faith in bringing down fire from heaven, … or in Jesus’ Disciples who were delivered from weakness and fear to become strong warriors for the faith.

Right now, my friends, we’re living in perilous times; and the prospects for peace and security don’t look good, do they? But when things get tough, even frightening, … I choose to remember and believe and live in the promises of truth provided by God to the likes of Jeremiah or Isaiah or the Apostle Paul (see Scriptures above); and I will do as Stephen Curtis Chapman sings and let God’s strength cover my weakness.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Your strength, Lord, is perfect when my strength is gone. 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, October 22, 2016

October 22, 2016: Helping the Needy

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 296  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images illustrating the song by Avalon … No Orphans of God … with a strong message to Christians to reach out to help those in need.

 
Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 25:40 [NKJV] …  
40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ 
… God is faithful to help us through the rough patches of life.
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Highlight Context: Matthew 25:31-40 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus, teaches/preaches on how we are to fulfill His example to the world of the law of love. 
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Reference Passage #1 … Isaiah 58:7-8 [NKJV] …USE THIS LINK 
… God speaks thru the Prophet on how we are to live in His kingdom.

Reference Passage #2 … John 13:34-35 [NKJV] …  
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” 
… Could Jesus have made his law of love more clear to His disciples (that’s you and me too!)?

Reference Passage #3 … Galatians 6:9-10 [NKJV] …  
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. 
… Paul so wanted fellow Christians to love and live as did Christ, sharing with those who are in need, especially other Christians.

Reference Passage #4 … Philippians 2:3-4 [NKJV] …  
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 
… Again Paul exhorting Christians to share God’s love with others.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson, uses a true story to illustrate his teaching on God’s LAW OF LOVE. He wrote: Several years ago when the Southern California economy took a downturn, Pastor Bob Johnson saw not only difficulty but also opportunity. So he scheduled a meeting with the mayor of his city and asked, “What can our church do to help you?” The mayor was astonished. People usually came to him for help. Here was a minister offering him the services of an entire congregation. Together the mayor and pastor came up with a plan to address several pressing needs. In their county alone, more than 20,000 seniors had gone the previous year without a single visitor. Hundreds of foster children needed families. And many other kids needed tutoring to help them succeed in school. 

That Pastor put into action everything that God did His best, through Jesus and His Apostles, to exhort (and even command) His family to execute in His “law of love,” by reaching out to help others in need. Please take in today’s photo and song, and most certainly the exhortations of God through His Son and Disciples in the Scriptures above … for us to do all we can to live as Jesus lived, … hence serving Him every time we help someone else in need.

But are we getting it and doing that in our world today? … I think not! … But no matter what others may do, I need to do my part today.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Show me clearly where I need to serve You by helping others. 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, October 21, 2016

October 21, 2016: Handling Rough Air

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 295  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of the group Hillsong leading in worship and singing [several times] the chorus of … Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus … a message of the faith we need to handle the rough patches of life.


Highlight Verse[s]: Lamenations 3:22-23 [NKJV] …  
22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. 
… God is faithful to help us through the rough patches of life.
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Highlight Context: Lamentations 3:21-26 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jeremiah, encountering so many challenges in his life, knew WHOM he could look to for deliverance.
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Reference Passage #1 … Matthew 8:23-27 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK ...   
… Jesus helps his disciples see that faith in Him always overcomes fear in our lives.

Reference Passage #2 … John 16:31-22 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK ...   
… Jesus has overcome the world. Therefore, we need not fear when we encounter tribulation.

Reference Passage #3 … 1st Corinthians 10:13 [NKJV] …  
13 No temptation [also translated: test, trial, tribulation, or trouble] has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 
… God doesn’t promise well not have trials. No, but He does promise to help us deal with the challenges we face - WITH HIS HELP.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, James Banks, in teaching about the rough trials we face in life, used a good word picture. He wrote: On a recent airline flight the landing was a little rough, jostling us left and right down the runway. Some of the passengers were visibly nervous, but the tension broke when two little girls sitting behind me cheered, “Yeah! Let’s do that again!” 
Children are open to new adventures and see life with humble, wide-eyed wonder. Perhaps this is part of what Jesus had in mind when He said that we have to “receive the kingdom of God like a little child” (Mark 10:15). 

The ignorance and exuberance of youth sometimes can be an advantage when we face the “rough-air” of life, can’t it? But even us older, more mature Christians, should be able to deal more readily with the storms we encounter, IF… (big “if”) … we have the faith of a young child who just knows the pilot [as in the ODB story] is in control.

That’s why my faith/memory took me here back to the true story related by Matthew (in Matt. 8 linked above and also found in Mark 4:35-41) … of the disciples caught in a horrible storm with Jesus napping in the helm of their boat. You know the story. The men woke Jesus fearing for their lives; but He rebuked their lack of faith and calmed the storm with a wave of His hand.

And that’s the message which Hillsong sings in the old hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, a song which tells us to do what Jesus’ Disciple did in the storm, to take their fears to the Lord and know that He’s in control (see the John 16:33 or 1Cor. 10:13 passages above).

My Prayer Today:   Heavenly Father, … I come to You when I’m dealing with the storms of life. Amen  

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

October 20, 2016: The Long Road Home

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 294  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of lyrics and a 60s classic with Paul McCartney singing … Long and Winding Road, poignantly singing of the road of life, which is truly one that is long and winding, ending with my plea to God … “to lead me to Your door.”


Highlight Verse[s]: John 14:16-18 [NKJV] …  
16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 
 … One man standing in the presence of God’s creation realizing that through God’s mercy it all was created for us.
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Highlight Context: John 14:15-21 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
 … Jesus, about to leave His Disciples, promises to return but leave His Spirit as their “helper” in dealing with the long road ahead.
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Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 3:5,6 [NKJV] …  
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. 
… Trusting God will lead us to His eternal door.

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.” [from Deut. 31:6,8] 
… God’s promise to ALWAYS be with His beloved ones.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, in teaching about the long road of our life, used a personal story from the 1960s with which I strongly identify.  He wrote: I grew up in the rebellious 1960s and turned my back on religion. I had attended church all my life but didn’t come to faith until my early twenties after a terrible accident. Since that time, I have spent my adult years telling others of Jesus’s love for us. 
It has been a journey. Certainly “a journey” describes life in this broken world. On the way we encounter mountains and valleys, rivers and plains, crowded highways and lonely roads—highs and lows, joys and sorrows, conflict and loss, heartache and solitude. We can’t see the road ahead, so we must take it as it comes, not as we wish it would be. 

I think we all can identify with this “journey” of life we’re on, can’t we? And as John McCartney sang, back in the days the ODB author wrote about, life truly is a “long and winding road.” But the question from this ODB entry for all reading here is … “Where is our road leading?” And as McCartney ends his song (linked above), I take great comfort knowing that my road, no matter how harried or difficult it will be to travel, is leading to God’s door of heaven.

How about you?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … I know that You’re always with me on this road; and You are leading me home. 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, October 19, 2016

October 19, 2016: God’s Wondrous Creation

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 293  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a glorious YouTube video of images arising as Brian Doerksen sings his beautiful song … Creation Calls, poignantly singing of how we are surrounded by the reality of God when we take in all that He created for us … His glorious creation.


Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 136:5 [NKJV] …  
5 To Him Who by wisdom made the heavens, … For His mercy endures forever … 
… One man standing in the presence of God’s creation realizing that through God’s mercy it all was created for us.
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Highlight Context: Psalm 136:1-9 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… A Psalmist’s prayer in light of being surrounded by God’s mercy of creation.
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Reference Passage #1 … Genesis 1:31 [NKJV] …  
31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. 
 … God, on the sixth day of creation saw all that He had made and declared it’s goodness for His purposes in sharing it with His foremost creation, … mankind.

Reference Passage #2 … Psalm 14:1 [NKJV] …  
1  The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” … 
… King David declares in song the reality of denying God.

Reference Passage #3 … Hebrews 11:6 [NKJV] …  
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 
… Even surrounded by God’s creation, it still takes faith to believe His is.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David Roper, uses an illustration from nature to teach on the reality of God and His creation. He wrote: Desert Solitaire is Edward Abbey’s personal history of his summers as a park ranger in what is now called Arches National Park in Utah. The book is worth reading if only for Abbey’s bright language and vivid descriptions of the US Southwest. 
But Abbey, for all his artistry, was an atheist who could see nothing beyond the surface of the beauty he enjoyed. How sad! He lived his entire life in praise of beauty and missed the point of it all. 

I was once like the atheist author, Abbey, … a doubter as to God’s existence. But I refused to call myself an “atheist” back in my days as a young, searching adult. No, I used the self describing term, “agnostic;” … because, when I saw the complex wonders of creation surrounding me, such as the national park Abbey described (see photo above), I could not declare that all of creation was an accident. Creation screamed, by its wonder and complexity, of a Creator. And ultimately my seeking after answers about God, I came to surrender to what Brian Doerksen so beautifully sings in the song linked here today, declaring, “I believe!”

When one looks around and sees the magnificent glory of God’s creation, I have to agree with King David’s declaration in Psalm 14:1, that only “the fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” And it would be good for us to look around this day and declare our thankfulness of all that God has given to us and declared “GOOD.”

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … What You have created for Your children is so wonderful. Thank 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, October 18, 2016

October 18, 2016: Real Deal Repentance

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 292  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time - once again - to take in my much repeated YouTube video of three friends singing … I Will Follow Christ, poignantly declaring the way of true repentance; … and that is to follow our Lord wherever He leads us … no matter the circumstances of life.


Highlight Verse[s]: Joel 2:13 [NKJV] …  
16 So rend your heart, and not your garments; . returning to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. … 
… God’s Prophet declares His will for true repentance.
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Highlight Context: Joel 2: 12-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God, thru the Prophet Joel, calls His people to true repentance - repentance of the heart. 
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Reference Passage #1 … Psalm 119:105-107 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… The Psalmist commits to seeking and following God’s will/way through the light of His word.

Reference Passage #2 … Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Solomon declares the essence of real repentance … and that is trusting God’s ways over our own.

Reference Passage #3 … Luke 9:23 [NKJV] …  
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 
… Jesus call to discipleship, which is to follow Him … no matter where His way might lead.

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. 
 … We can seek/follow God’s will, knowing that all things are working together for our good, being of the called according to His purposes.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland, teaches on the essence of true CHRISTIAN repentance. He wrote: In many cultures, loud weeping, wailing, and the tearing of clothing are accepted ways of lamenting personal sorrow or a great national calamity. For the people of Old Testament Israel, similar outward actions expressed deep mourning and repentance for turning away from the Lord. 
An outward demonstration of repentance can be a powerful process when it comes from our heart. But without a sincere inward response to God, we may simply be going through the motions, even in our communities of faith. 

The Prophet Joel was led by God to preach to God’s people about true repentance [see today’s highlight passage], calling them to have a turning of the heart, not just an outward show of grief or mourning. And that’s what Jesus sought from His disciples (that’s us, folks! - see Luke 9:23), to follow Him no matter where He might lead us.

It’s tough to surrender to Paul’s truth in Romans 8:28, isn’t it? True - “real-deal” - repentance is turning from our own ways and trusting (see Prov. 3:5-6) that God’s ways are the best ways … and then pursuing God’s will at the expense of our own way, the world’s way, or that of Satan. Repentance for the Christian is seeking, finding, and following the way of Christ; and I believe the only way to do that is to follow God’s word [see Psalm 119:105-107].

The question from today’s ODB is … “Are we walking in real-deal repentance?”

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … You know my heart is to seek Your way daily and follow You. So, I beg that You shine Your light brightly on my path that I can’t help but see Your way to follow 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.

Monday, October 17, 2016

October 17, 2016: Pray… When?!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 291  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of David Archuleta and Nathan Pacheo singing … The Prayer, poignantly singing about the will of God for us to pray, pray, and pray some more.


Highlight Passage: 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18 [NKJV] …  
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 
… Paul urges his fellow Christians to walk in surrender to God’s will and PRAY!  
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Highlight Context: 1st Thessalonians 5:12-28 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK …   https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Thessalonians+5%3A12-28&version=NKJV … Paul so wanted his fellow Christians to understand God’s will … and to follow it.
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Reference Passage #1 … Luke 5:15-16 [NKJV] …  
15 However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. 16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. 
… And if Jesus needed to unburden Himself through prayer; … should we not also follow His model?

Reference Passage #2 … Philippians 4:6-7 [NKJV] …  
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 
… Paul exhorts Christians to take their concerns and burdens to the Lord in prayer.

Reference Passage #3 … 1st Peter 5: 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 also wanted his fellow Christians to understand our need to take our burdens in this life to the Lord.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Anne Cetas, used a cute, but pertinent, personal illustration to teach on the charge to Christians to pray. She wrote: Joie started the children’s program with prayer, then sang with the kids. Six-year-old Emmanuel squirmed in his seat when she prayed again after introducing Aaron, the teacher. Then Aaron began and ended his talk with prayer. Emmanuel complained: “That’s four prayers! I can’t sit still that long!” 

And I’m afraid that all too many of us Christians, (yes even more mature believers), have the attitude of little Emmanuel in this illustration. We may recognize that God wants us to pray and bring our burdens to Him (see Scriptures above); but do we follow His will (made very clear in today’s highlight passage)? We, as His disciples are to follow His lead (see Luke 5:16; and then look up Luke 9:23) and develop a continual waking attitude of prayer (see attached photo).

Yes, with Paul’s strong exhortations ringing true above, I think many of us don’t use the burden-lifting tool of prayer enough, … DO WE?  ... I’ll leave it to you to deal with the truth cited above. But for me, I’m seeking to do more of what David Archuleta and his friend sing about in the linked song today.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … I’m here with You, my Lord, … my God; … and I pray for an attitude of prayer … 24/7.   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, October 16, 2016

October 16, 2016: Weary? - " <‘Keep on keeping on!!!!>< "

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 290  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Daniel O’Donnell singing … Here I Am Lord, poignantly singing of our desire as disciples of Christ to serve Him with the willingness to go anywhere/anytime … for His glory.


Highlight Passage: 1st Thessalonians 4:1-2 [NKJV] …  
1 Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 
… Paul urges his fellow Christians to stay firm in their good works for Christ.
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Highlight Context: 1st Thessalonians 4:1-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul writes fellow Christians, encouraging them to “keep on keeping on” in Christ. 
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Reference Passage #1 … 1st Corinthians 15:58 [NKJV] …  
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 
… Exhortation to the Christians in Corinth (and to us as well!).

Reference Passage #2 … Galatians 6:9-10 [NKJV] …  
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. 
… Paul writes to the Christians in Asia Minor to stay committed to doing God’s good works.

Reference Passage #3 … 2 Thessalonians 3:13 [NKJV] …  
13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. 
… More encouragement to the Christians in Thessalonica [and to us] to be strong and diligent in their faith.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Keila Ochoa, used a clever word picture to illustrate God’s desire for us to “keep on keeping on” in Him (that’s what the symbol in my title reveal. She wrote about that picture depicted in the attached photo of a guinea pig or hamster running hard - but nowhere - inside a small wheel.

The ODB author asks if we, as disciples of Christ, sometimes feel like the caged hamster in the photo. Do we sometimes feel we’re willing to run or go anywhere for Christ [hear the attached song]; but somehow we find ourselves feeling like we’re not getting anywhere?

The Apostle Paul wrote letters to several groups of Christians who likely felt like this. In two passages to the same church group (see 1st Thess. 4:1 and also in 2 Thess. 3:13), Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, encouraging them to stay diligent in their faith and to keep on keeping on in Christ. He also wrote to Christians in Corinth and Asian Minor (see 1st Cor. 15:58 and Gal. 6:9-10) with much the same exhortation; and being from God’s word, these words of encouragement apply to us, as Christians, as well.

So, my fellow disciple of Christ, if any of us are feeling like that little hamster on that wheel in the photo today, … be lifted up by Paul’s words of encouragement to his fellow disciples. And as the symbol in my journal title above, let’s “Keep On Keeping On” in Christ.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … sometimes, Lord, it feels like I’m going nowhere; but in faith I know I’m always going somewhere good when I follow You.    Amen  

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

Saturday, October 15, 2016

October 15, 2016: I’m On His Team

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 289  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Jim Rice of the duo, Brush Arbor, singing … Hello God, poignantly singing of coming to God with a soulful petition for God to be the Lord of the singer’s life.


Highlight Passage: Psalm 86:6-7 [NKJV] …  
6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer, and attend to the voice of my supplications. 7 In the day of my trouble I will call on You, for You will answer me. 
… We pray, as did David, and He hears.
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Highlight Context: Psalm 86:1-13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… King David prays and God listens.
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Reference Passage #1 … Psalm 116:1-2 [NKJV] …  
1 I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. 2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, … therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. 
… Knowing that our Lord bends down to hear us, we come to Him with our supplications.

Reference Passage #2 … Hebrews 11:6 [NKJV] …  
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
 … Our faith brings us to God. His promises bring Him to us.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, used a true story of a young NFL fan searching for a team to follow to illustrate how diligently we need to seek our Lord in prayer. She wrote: Cade Pope, a 12-year-old boy from Oklahoma, mailed out 32 handwritten letters [see attached photo] — one to each executive in charge of a National Football League (NFL) team in the US. Cade wrote, “My family and I love football. We play fantasy football and watch [the] games every weekend. . . . I am ready to pick an NFL team to cheer on for a lifetime!” 
Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers football team, responded with a handwritten note of his own. The first line read: “We would be honored if our [team] became your team. We would make you proud.” Richardson went on to commend some of his players. His letter was not only personal and kindhearted—it was the only response that Cade received. Not surprisingly, Cade became a loyal fan of the Carolina Panthers. 

When David was searching for help in times of trouble, He knew where to God; and He even wrote songs about His need to be on God’s team (see Psalms 86 & 116 above). And as we read in His prayers, He knew that God would get his message and answer His prayer. His faith in God’s listening ear and willing Spirit was deep.

Is ours?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear God, just as Jim Rice sings in the linked song … I pray - everyday - and You hear of my love, my confessions, my thanks, and my supplications. Thank You, Lord, for being there for me as Captain and Coach of Your team.   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, October 14, 2016

October 14, 2016: A Living Sacrifice

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 288  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Cheri Keaggy singing … In Remembrance of Me, poignantly singing of God’s instructions for all Christians to remember Christ’s sacrifice for us and to live as a sacrifice to/for others in His Name and for His glory.

 
Highlight Passage: 1 John 3:16-17 [NKJV] …  
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 
 … If we truly live/love for Him, we honor His sacrifice for us.
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Highlight Context: 1st John 3:16-23 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Our lives lived for Him - as a loving-living sacrifice - shows that we remember and honor His ultimate sacrifice for us.
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Reference Passage #1 … John 10:11 [NKJV] …  
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. …” 
… Jesus declares that, as our Good Shepherd, He will give His life for us … and He did!!

Reference Passage #2 … Romans 12: 1 [NKJV] …  
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 
 … Our lives, lived for Him, become “living sacrifices,” just as His body was for us.

Reference Passage #3 … 1st Corinthians 11:23-26 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… We remember Him.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, used a personal story of sacrifice to illustrate what Christ did for us and how we should remember Him with the way we live our lives. He wrote: I love birds, which is why I bought six caged birds and carried them home to our daughter Alice, who began to care for them daily. Then one of the birds fell ill and died. We wondered if the birds would be more likely to thrive if they were not caged. So we freed the surviving five [see attached photo] and observed them fly away in jubilation. 
Alice then pointed out, “Do you realize, Daddy, that it was the death of one bird that caused us to free the rest?” 

Fellow Christian, I pray we realize and remember with our lives the sacrifice our Lord made for us on the cross. Certainly we should every time we partake of our Lord’s table, as He instructed us to do “In remembrance of Him.” (see those instructions in 1 Cor. 11:23-26). But as the Apostle Paul exhorted fellow Christians (to include you/me), we are to become “living sacrifices” of love as our reasonable acts of worship to/for Him (see Rom. 12:1).

So, I ask myself … am I remember His sacrifice by the way I’m living; and will I live in remembrance of Him today? … I pray so.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, Your Son, my Lord, sacrificed all for me. May I be a living sacrifice of love for Him 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, October 13, 2016

October 13, 2016: ANYONE CAN COME !!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 287  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Brian Doerksen singing … Just As I Am, poignantly singing of God’s willingness to receive any/all who come to Him for His saving grace.

 
Highlight Passage: Luke 5:32 [NKJV] …  
32 “… I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
 … Matthew certainly was not one of the righteous ... but Jesus pursued him anyway.
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Highlight Context: Luke 5:27-32 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus even was willing to take Matthew as His disciple - a hated tax collector, showing His willingness to save any/all who come to Him in repentance and surrender.
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Reference Passage #1 … John 3:16-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus declares that He came to save WHOEVER believes in Him.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Marion Stroud, used Jesus’ inclusion of Matthew, a hated tax-collector, as a Disciple in Luke 5… to illustrate that any/all who believed in Him and were willing to repent and receive His saving grace would be saved … ANYONE!! 

That’s what’s depicted in the attached photo and what Brian Doerksen so poignantly sings about in the song linked above (PLEASE take the time to hear it!). Yes, if our Lord would call and receive a hated tax-collector like Matthew, and He would pursue and receive a former atheist and sex-addict like me, He will receive ANYONE into His family.

And all I can pray today is that any who read here have surrender in faith and repentance to receive God’s free-gift of saving/sanctifying grace.

My Prayer Today: Lord, thank You for taking any of us here today into Your family who believe on Your Lordship as our Savior, including one like 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, October 12, 2016

October 12, 2016: From Fools to Followers

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 286

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of a friend of mine, Clay Crosse, with two of his friends, Bebe Winans and Bob Carlisle, singing … I Will Follow Christ, powerfullly declaring in song what should be the goal of every Christian … to follow Christ ALWAYS!!!


Highlight Passage: 1st Samuel 25:25 [NKJV] …
25 Please, let not my lord regard this scoundrel Nabal. For as his name is, so is he: Nabal is his name, and folly is with him! 
… Abagail honoring her foolish husband by warning David and providing him with the hospitality which Nabal should’ve offered David’s men earlier.
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Highlight Context: 1st Samuel 25 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… The story of Nabal, the fool, and the warning given to David of his foolishness by Nabal’s wife, Abagail
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Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 3:5-6, 23:7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God wants us to think as He thinks and live as He would live, not as the fool our natural self would lead us to be.

Reference Passage #2 … Jeremiah 17:9 [NKJV] …
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; … who can know it? 
… Our base nature, … our human default … is from a wicked and perverse heart.

Reference Passage #3 … Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] …
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. …” 
… Jesus’ command to overcome our base nature and to follow Him.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Marvin Williams, used the confrontation that King David had with the wealthy fool, Nabal, in 1Samuel 25 (see above). He wrote: An appropriate warning label that Nabal could have worn would have been: “Expect folly from a fool.” He certainly was irrational as he addressed David. On the run from Saul, David had provided security detail for the sheep of a wealthy man named Nabal. When David learned that Nabal was shearing those sheep and celebrating with a feast, he sent ten of his men to politely ask for food as remuneration for these duties (vv. 4–8). 
Nabal’s response to David’s request was beyond rude. He said, “Who is this David? . . . Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat . . . , and give it to men coming from who knows where?” (vv. 10–11). He broke the hospitality code of the day by not inviting David to the feast, disrespected him by calling out insults, and essentially stole from him by not paying him for his work. 

And ODB Author Williams’ observation that we all have a little - if not a lot - of Nabal in us is spot on, isn’t it?   There are times when we let our selfish, natural, foolishness get in the way of Godly wisdom [see attached photo]; and it can cause great grief and calamity.  If you read in 1st Samuel 25, Nabal’s foolishness caused him his life.  

And so, if we cannot overcome our natural heart (see Jer. 17:9) and follow Christ (as He commanded in Luke 9:23 and is sung in the linked song), we will become the fool who we were born to become WITHOUT Christ.

But with Him - and by following Him - we can be led to glory.   I don’t know about any other reader here with me today, but that’s my goal.

My Prayer Today: Lord, lead me away from my foolish self and toward the Savior. 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, October 11, 2016

October 11, 2016: Sharing God’s Mercy

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 285 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of one of my favorite singers, Gordon Mote, singing … Mercy Walked In, poignantly declaring the reality of God’s mercy covering the sin of any/all who surrender to Jesus’ loving and saving grace.


Highlight Passage: Luke 6:36 [NKJV] …   3
6 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. 
… We can give mercy to others because He first gave it to us.
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Highlight Context: Luke 6:27-36 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus on extending His forgiveness and mercy to others … just as He had extended it to all who would received His saving grace by faith thru repentance, leading to the ability to extend Christlike mercy to others thru forgiveness.
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Reference Passage #1 … Lamentations 3:22-23 [NKJV] …
22 Thru the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; … great is Your faithfulness. 
… We become what we think.

Reference Passage #2 … Hebrews 4:16 [NKJV] …
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 
… Because of the mercy/grace of Christ’s shed blood, we can come boldly to Him to receive the grace which allows us to extend His mercy to others.

Reference Passage #3 … Galatians 2:20 [NKJV] …
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 
… When we die to self, we can live for Christ and offer His grace to others.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Randy Kilgore, offered up the reality of our ability as Christians to offer the mercy/grace God has given us, in Christ, to others who need His grace. He wrote: When Jesus offered His words about forgiveness in Luke 6, He was helping us understand the difference between people of grace and people without grace. Those who know His forgiveness are to be strikingly unlike everyone else. We must do what others think impossible: Forgive and love our enemies. Jesus said, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (v. 36).

Isn’t it the reality of the attached photo that the intersection of mercy and grace is the cross? … When we can repent of our sin in faith and receive God’s mercy through the free gift of His saving and sanctifying grace, we become free-will conduits of the grace of His forgiveness to others, … agents of His grace, if you will.

And as I emotionally listen to today’s YouTube song from one of my favorite Christian singers, I realize that today - and all days - I need to be a channel of God’s mercy to others, … and especially those who have wronged me and need for God’s grace to be extended in forgiveness and mercy to them by God thru me.

My Prayer Today: Lord, give me the grace to offer Your mercy to others 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.