Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 30, 2016 ... My Worth In Christ

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 335

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Big Daddy Weave singing … Redeemed … singing of how we receive our worth from the redemption provided by Christ’s blood sacrifice.


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Highlight Verse: 1st Peter 1:18-19 [NKJV] … 
18 … knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, or from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 
… What really gives us self worth … only our relationship with Christ.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st Peter 1:17-23 … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Peter, reminding Christians from whence comes our worth … in the redemption from Christ’s atoning blood.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : ... Luke 9:23 … 
23 Then He said to them all (followers),  “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. …” 
... Our worth in Christ creates newness, redemption, and freedom.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : ... 2nd Corinthians 5:17 ... 
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 
... Our worth in Christ creates newness, redemption, and freedom.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : ... Ephesians 1:7 [NKJV] … 
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. 
... Our worth comes ONLY from the redemption offered by Christ’s blood covering our sin.  

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Bill Crowder, uses an historical story to illustrate how we must find our self worth from our relationship with Christ. He writes: There is a story that in 75 bc a young Roman nobleman named Julius Caesar was kidnapped by pirates and held for ransom. When they demanded 20 talents of silver in ransom (about $600,000 today), Caesar laughed and said they obviously had no idea who he was. He insisted they raise the ransom to 50 talents! Why? Because he believed he was worth far more than 20 talents. 
What a difference we see between Caesar’s arrogant measure of his own worth and the value God places on each of us. Our worth is not measured in terms of monetary value but by what our heavenly Father has done on our behalf. 

Family identification, position, power, wealth, traditions are all factors which so often create our identity … i.e., our self-worth. But as Peter disclaimed to his fellow Christians (and to you/me) [see nightlight passages] our worth ONLY comes from the redemption offered by Christ’s atoning blood, which was shed for all who are redeemed by faith in Him.

As Big Daddy Weave sings in the song today (linked above), we are set free from self-identification and created anew in Christ (see 2 Cor. 5:17 and Eph. 1:7); … but only when we become identified in/with Christ … FOREVER!!

So today’s devotional screams for us, as Christians, to set aside seeking our image/worth in the world or from fleshly lusts/pleasures, and seek only to go deeper into the newness and fruitfulness which comes from our identification with/in Christ.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, help me to come here daily seeking to grow closer and closer to You and to surrender more, as You commanded, denying self, taking up my cross daily, and following only 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, November 29, 2016

November 29, 2016 ... Wow - I’m Rich!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 334

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Kristyn and Keith Getty singing their song … Speak O Lord … singing of how we receive God’s matchless glory through His word.



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Highlight Verse: Psalm 119:14 [NKJV] … 
14 I rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. 
… We can find the joy of great riches when we are blessed by God’s truth.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 119:9-16 ... USE THIS LINK ...
… The Psalmist declares his joy in meditating on an surrendering to God’s word.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : ... 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 in the thing for which I sent it. 
... God's word always has power for His purposes.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : ... John 14:21 ... 
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. 
... How filled with joy we should be in our obedience to God's commands in His word.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David McCasland, uses a clear and very human analogy to illustrate how we might react if we came into vast unexpected riches. He writes: Perhaps you've seen the TV ad in which a person answers the door and finds someone who hands over a check for an enormous amount of money [see attached photo]. Then the amazed recipient begins shouting, "I won! I'm rich! I can't believe it! My problems are solved!" [Certainly] striking it rich evokes a great emotional response. 

And I think anyone can identify with the emotions one would feel if, somehow, we came into sudden financial providence. And the ODB author today immediately made the comparison of what the author of Psalm 119 wrote in comparing the joy he felt in meditating on and living by God's word. [see Ps. 119:14 above].   This God-inspired song writer had come to realize that being blessed by God's truth from His word can (and should) evoke the same, or even more, joy than we get with vast financial wealth.

But what about you and me? Do we find the kind of joy and exhilaration we might feel in sudden riches when we are blessed by taking in God's truth from His Holy Word? If we are not getting great blessing and joy from God's word, we evidently don't choose to believe what God actually says in Isaiah 55:11 and John 14:21. Because if we really believed what God says in just those two scriptures, let alone the rest of the Bible, we'd be overjoyed to seek out His wealth of wisdom, ... which we can get EVERY TIME we delve into His word.

Well, my friends, that's why you find me coming back here EVERY DAY to open the door of God's love from His word and receive the riches of His glory which He imparts to me from the wealth of wisdom He gives to me from His love letter to me … His Holy word in my Bible.

And I will pray below that we all can find the joy of God's wondrous wealth of truth which we can glean anytime we partake of the living waters from the wondrous well of riches found in God's word.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, thank You for providing me with Your vast riches of love and truth in Your Word. And I will continue to come here every day and be blessed by the joy which comes from Your word.. I pray others who come here with me will as well. ... 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, November 28, 2016

November 28, 2016: Beautiful to God

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 333

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Ray Stevens singing his song in 1970 … Everything Is Beautiful … singing of how God’s love is for all … and that He sees the beauty in everyone.

Highlight Verse[s]: Luke 7:47 [NKJV] … 
47 “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” 
… Jesus forgave the woman sinner, seeing the beauty of her worship.
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Highlight Context: Luke 7:36-50 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
... Jesus saw the beauty in all who came to Him with their surrendered hearts.
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Reference Passage #1 … Genesis 1:27 [NKJV] … 
27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 
… God has no favorites. He created us all in His image.

Reference Passage #2 … Mark 14:3-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus sees the beauty in anyone, who comes to Him to receive His grace, … ANYONE, not matter their condition.

My Journal for Today: … Our Daily Bread author, Dave Branon, uses our imagination to have us picture a beautiful girl in a wheelchair. He wrote: Picture two teenage girls. The first girl is strong and healthy. The other girl, though beautiful has never known the freedom of getting around on her own. From her wheelchair she faces not only the emotional challenges common to life, but also a stream of physical pains and struggles. But both girls are smiling cheerfully as they enjoy each other’s company. Two beautiful teenagers—each seeing in the other the treasure of friendship. 

Dave Branon, the ODB author today, brings out that Jesus, in his ministry walk on earth, often encountered those who had physical or emotional challenges. There was the woman labeled as “a sinner” (in the highlight passage) who tried to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears. And there was that incident where Jesus was criticized for letting an unidentified woman pour a flask of costly oil on His head, to which He responded, ”Let her alone. … She has done a good work for me.” (see Mark 14:6)

Jesus has no “faves,” does He? Why else would He have loved me (or you) enough to see past our sinfulness or possibly our disabilities and die for us all on the cross so that we could be free from our physical limitations or sinfulness … FOREVER?!! Yes, as Ray Steven sings, … Everyone is beautiful in His eyes; and let’s be thankful for it.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, one again, as on Thanksgiving, we celebrate with gratitude … and praise You for loving us all. … 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, November 27, 2016

November 27, 2016: Being a Lure for Christ

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 332

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Steve Green singing … People Need the Lord … singing of how we need to be “fishers of men” in a world where so many need Jesus’ saving grace.


Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 92:14 [NKJV] …
14 They (righteous believers) shall bear fruit in old age; … they shall be fresh and flourishing. Age shall not hold back the effectiveness of the righteous.
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Highlight Context: Psalm 92:12-15 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… The Psalmist praises the Lord on the Sabbath … as long as he shall live to serve Him. ===========

Reference Passage #1 … Isaiah 40:31 [NKJV] … 
31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; … they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. 
… The faithful shall be strengthened … even in old age.

Reference Passage #2 … Acts 1:8 [NKJV] … 
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 
… Jesus charges us to be His witnesses to a lost world, no matter how old we get.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David Roper, reported an interesting 2nd Century piece, … written about fishing lures, which triggered a word picture for Roper of older Christians. He wrote: Several years ago I stumbled across a bit of fishing lore in a second-century ad work by the Greek writer Aelian. “Between Boroca and Thessalonica runs a river called the Astracus, and in it there are fish with spotted skins [trout].” He then describes a “snare for the fish, by which they get the better of them.  They fastened crimson red wool round a hook and attached two feathers. Then they would throw their snare, and the fish, attracted by the color, comes up, thinking to get a mouthful” (On the Nature of Animals). 
Fishermen still use this lure today [see attached photo]. It is called the Red Hackle. First used over 2,200 years ago, it remains a snare for trout by which we “get the better of them.” 

And you may be thinking, “Bill, … how, pray tell, does this fit in with a devotional blog?” But it does: … because the ODB author was stricken by the fact that a VERY OLD fishing technique was still being used effectively today to catch trout. And that’s the way we should look at the aging process for us as Christians.

Unfortunately, the world would like for us older Christians (and I’m certainly one of those) to think that getting older equals becoming less effective or powerful as witnesses for Christ. Hey folks!! I’m much more effective now in my 70s than I was in my 30s as a “fisher of men,” which is what Jesus wants me to become … just as he did His original disciples. In fact just think how Peter, Andrew, James, and John became WAY MORE effective as fishing lures for Jesus later in their lives than they were when Jesus first called them to become “fishers of men.”

So, as we get older, fellow fishermen, let’s wrap ourselves in the lure of Christlikeness and cast ourselves on the waters of life and do some fishing for souls. Because as Steve Green sings in the linked song, “People Need the Lord!”

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, help me to cast myself as a witnessing lure for Your glory. … Amen

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

Saturday, November 26, 2016

November 26, 2016: Sending Out Godly Words

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 331

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Avalon singing … Testify to Love … singing of how any Christian should speak, text, or email … to testify to God’s love.


Highlight Verse[s]: 1st Peter 3:10 [NKJV] …
10 For “he would love life and see good days, … let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. 
… Peter’s exhortation for Christians to avoid speaking evil or deceitful to one another if we desire to see good days in this life.
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Highlight Context: 1st Peter 3:8-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God’s calling to be a blessing in this life.
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Reference Passage #1 … Psalm 141:3 [NKJV] … 
3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; … keep watch over the door of my lips. 
… Good advice in prayer and song from King David about using our words.

Reference Passage #2 … Proverbs 18:21 [NKJV] … 
21 The tongue has the power of life and death. 
… God's wisdom, thru Solomon, about the power of our words.

Reference Passage #3 … Ephesians 4:29 [NKJV] … 
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 
… Paul’s teaching on how to use our verbal communication as Christians.

Reference Passage #4 … James 3: 1-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Jesus’ brother, James, giving Christians warning about using “the tongue,” which these days can extend to texting or emails.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland, used an illustration with which many these days should likely identify. He wrote: Have you ever sent an email and suddenly realized it went to the wrong person or it contained harmful, harsh words? If only you could press a key and stop it. Well, now you can. Several companies offer a feature that gives you a brief time after sending an email to stop it from leaving your computer. After that, the email is like a spoken word that cannot be unsaid. Rather than being seen as a cure-all, an “unsend” feature should remind us that it’s extremely important to guard what we say. 

Wow, been there, done that, and have that T-shirt!! … Haven’t we all - well, at least many of us - said something or used our keyboards (or smart phones) to communicate our thoughts, many times laced with human emotions, to someone; and then, after saying or sending our thoughts, we realized that we’d like to UNSEND or UNSAY the words, ... which now are irretrievable?

Back in biblical times, one couldn’t send a message that would be retrieved and read within moments of the sender’s email or text. So, most of the biblical warnings about verbal communication dealt with the use of “the tongue.” And some of those Scriptural warnings can be found in the passages above; and I don’t think it takes a biblical scholar to translate those passages to our use of rapid digital communication today.

Personally, I think the Apostle Paul’s warning is the clearest and easiest to use when judging whether what we say, text, or email should be shared with others. With the Holy Spirit’s anointing, Paul wrote [see Eph. 4:29] that what we communicate verbally should either build someone up (i.e., edify them) or give them the grace (i.e., love) of God. If it doesn't do either of those, Paul would say, “Don’t hit the send button!!” (see photo)

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, help my words do what is sung by Avalon in today’s song … “Testify to 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.

Friday, November 25, 2016

November 25, 2016: He’s All I Need

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 330

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Hillsong singing … Jesus, You’re All I Need … singing of how any Christian can find contentment and avoid greed in this life.


Highlight Verse[s]: Ecclesiastes 5:10 [NKJV] …
10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; … nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. 
… Solomon had experienced the effects of abundance and wealth; and God uses him to warn God’s people of the effect it can have on many.
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Highlight Context: Ecclesiastes 5:10-19 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God, “The Teacher,” in Solomon’s treatise on vanity tells of the effect that possessions can have on the human spirit.
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Reference Passage #1 … Matthew 6:24-34 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus’ warning of how wealth and possessions can take a hold of one’s spirit.

Reference Passage #2 … 1st Timothy 6:6-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, teaches on finding contentment in the possession of God’s providence … in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed with greed.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Amy Boucher Pye, used an illustration of what happens on this date annually, … teaching on the effect pursuing STUFF can have on our mentality. She wrote: How much is enough? We might ask this simple question on a day that many developed countries increasingly devote to shopping. I speak of “Black Friday”, the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday, in which many stores open early and offer cut-price deals; a day that has spread from the States to other nations. 
Some shoppers have limited resources and are trying to purchase something at a price they can afford. But sadly, for others greed is the motivation, and violence erupts as they fight for bargains. 

If you’ve taken in and meditated on the ODB teaching, the linked song, and the Scriptures above, I don’t think I have to add very much to teach what Jesus clearly taught in his hillside sermon about the effect which possessions can have on us (see Matthew 6 passage), do I?

So, I won’t.

I’ll leave it to God’s Spirit through these truths to get us to realize what the group Hillsong sings (see the link). Jesus is truly all we need!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Jesus, You are all I need to pursue 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.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

November 24, 2016: Attitude of Gratitude

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 329

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from a group of kids singing … We Gather Together … singing one of my favorite Thanksgiving songs.


Highlight Verse[s]: Colossians 3:17 [NKJV] …
17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. 
… Doing everything we do with an attitude of gratitude.
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Highlight Context: Colossians 3:12-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul outlines Godly character for believers to emulate.
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Reference Passage #1 … Psalms 100 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Probably one of the greatest songs of thanksgiving ever written.

Reference Passage #2 … 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.
 … Yes, in EVERYTHING, give thanks!  

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Joe Stowell, used a personal story to illustrate what we celebrate on this day - THANKSGIVING. He wrote: Every autumn we throw a scrumptious Thanksgiving feast on campus at Cornerstone University. Our students love it! Last year a group of students played a game at their table. They challenged each other to name something they were thankful for—in three seconds or less—without repeating what someone else had said. Anyone who hesitated was out of the game. 
There are all kinds of things that students might gripe about—tests, deadlines, rules, and a host of other college-type complaints. But these students had chosen to be thankful. And my guess is that they all felt a lot better after the game than they would have if they had chosen to complain. 

If we were playing the game, what would be the first jewel of thankfulness which comes to your mind? And then when the game came around to you again, what would be #2 on your list? … And how many different things can you come up with right now for which you are genuinely thankful for God’s mercy, His kindness, His providence, … His grace.

Just stop here for a time and do a mental list of thankfulness; or better yet, write them down so that you can see how God has been working in your life. And then having done that, as have I, we’ll have - at least for a few moments - an attitude of gratitude which we should have 24/7 for all the days of our lives.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Listing all for which I’m thankful has humbled me and convicted me of my selfishness most of the time. Forgive me and help me develop more of an attitude of gratitude 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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

November 23, 2016: Our Humble King

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 328

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from a group singing … Meekness and Majesty … sings of the mysterious mix found in our Lord’s life, … a wondrous mixture of humility and glory.


Highlight Verse[s]: Philippians 2:8 [NKJV] …
8 And [Jesus] being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 
… Jesus was the model of humility; … yet, he became the most famous person in the world. 
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Highlight Context: Philippians 2:1-11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus’ mission in His life had nothing to do with seeking fame and recognition.
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Reference Passage #1 … Matthew 9:30-31 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus heals two blind men, telling them not to spread the story; but they did anyway and his fame grew.

Reference Passage #2 … John 6:15 [NKJV] …
15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. 
… Jesus didn’t seek fame, fortune, or power; … only to do the will of His father.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Cindy Kasper, makes a clear point about what most of us covent in life. She wrote: Many of us are obsessed with fame—either with being famous ourselves or with following every detail of famous people’s lives. International book or film tours. Late-night show appearances. Millions of followers on Twitter. 
In a recent study in the US, researchers ranked the names of famous individuals using a specially developed algorithm that scoured the Internet. Jesus topped the list as the most famous person in history. 

Somehow I can sense readers here saying or thinking, “Not me … I don’t want fame and fortune; … I’ve seen what it does to people like Hollywood stars, famous athletes, and politicians!” … Okay, … but then do any of you seek affirmation or recognition from your boss at work or perhaps your parents? Most of us seek the latter and many even would covet the former.

But THE role model for our lives as Christians sought none of the fame and notoriety that he received while our Lord walked the earth (see the reference passages above). No, Jesus humbly sought only to do what His Heavenly Father sent him to do. And the Apostle Paul wrote about that mission in the highlight passage above; and the ODB author today quoted C.S. Lewis who summarized that mission, writing, “The Son of God became man so that men might become sons of God.”

As the song linked today sings that Jesus was wondrously “Meekness and Majesty” … in one glorious personhood; and His life is the model for how we should live to glorify Him.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Help me to live humbly that others would see You in me, Lord, and not me in 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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

November 22, 2016: Going Home

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 327

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from John Denver singing … Take Me Home, Country Home … proclaiming joyfully that we a place in our hearts to return home; … but we Christians will never be home till we return to the home God has prepared for us in Heaven.


Highlight Verse[s]: Hebrews 11:16 [NKJV] …
16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. 
… “They” here is all who look forward to a heavenly home.
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Highlight Context: Hebrews 11:8-16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… The Author of Hebrews pointed to a desire in the hearts of all of God’s true family to return to the home prepared for them by God.
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Reference Passage #1 … John 14:1-3 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus promises His disciples a home in Heaven, prepared by Him and waiting for all who truly follow Him in faith.

Reference Passage #2 … Philippians 3:20-21 [NKJV] …
20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. 
… Our home is Heaven; and we’ll one day return there to be with our Lord.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, James Banks, tells a personal story to illustrate how Christians must live in this world in anticipation of returning to our home in Heaven. He wrote: My wife walked into the room and found me poking my head inside the cabinet of our grandfather clock. “What are you doing?” she asked. “This clock smells just like my parents’ house,” I answered sheepishly, closing the door. “I guess you could say I was going home for a moment.” 
The sense of smell can evoke powerful memories. We had moved the clock across the country from my parents’ house nearly twenty years ago, but the aroma of the wood inside it still takes me back to my childhood. 

Are we, in Christ, living today, knowing that we’ll one day return to the home now prepared for all who believe and follow Christ … just as He promised to His disciples in that upper room [see John 14 passage above] and just before He went to the cross to make that return to Him a reality?

The Apostle Paul knew that his life and his ministry was a time of life merely preparing for his return home [see the Philippians 3 passage]. And the Author of Hebrews wrote (see highlight passage above) that all of God’s family hope and live for a Heavenly home to be with God forever. 

Personally, I know where I’m headed! … Do you?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … My life here on earth is now a journey homeward. … 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, November 21, 2016

November 21, 2016: Sharing Our Story

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 326  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Big Daddy Weave singing … My Story … poignantly singing of how we should use the words of our story to honor our relationship with Christ.


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Highlight Verse: Ephesians 4:29 [NKJV] …  
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 
… What we say and how we say it so often becomes the most visible witness of our Christianity. 
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Highlight Text: Ephesians 4:25-32 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God, thru Paul, exhorting Christians how we can go deeper by maintaining our relationship and fellowship with Christ by how we live.
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Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 18:21 [NKJV] …  
21 Death and live are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat it’s fruit. 
… Our words so often become the most powerful force we have to influence others for Christ.

Reference Passage #2 … Ephesians 4:1-2 [NKJV] …  
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,    ... 
… As Christians we are to speak and live in a manner worthy of our calling as “Christians.”

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Anne Cetas, relates as story of a young lady, Emily, who was touched by the words of a group of friends who were telling of their thanksgiving customs. The author wrote: Right away Emily felt uneasy with her attitude. You are part of that family. “What would you like to do differently to change the day?” … she asked herself. She decided she wanted to privately tell each person she was thankful to the Lord that they were her sister, niece, brother, or great-niece. When the day arrived, she expressed her thankfulness for them one by one, and they all felt loved. It wasn’t easy because it wasn’t normal conversation in her family, but she experienced joy as she shared her love for each of them. 

What we say to others, especially family or friends, ALWAYS has an impact on our relationship with them.  It’s OUR STORY; and it can even damage a relationship severely if our words don’t conform to what the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:29 accompanied by the way we live, especially as we reflect our relationship with Christ in what we say or do [see also Eph. 4:1-2].

Again, what we say, as Solomon wrote (in Prov. 18:21), has the power of life/death [see Photo above]. So, today, I’m convicted to use my words only, as Paul wrote in the highlight verse … to either edify others or to share God’s grace with them. Will you join me in that commitment?

As Big Daddy Weave sings in today’s song, let’s use our words to tell others the story of how grateful we are that Jesus loves others and He will change our lives for His glory.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, may all I think, say, and do reflect You to 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.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

November 20, 2016: Faith Is Costly

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 325  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Bebo Norman singing … I Will Lift My Eyes … poignantly singing of our need to lift our eyes to our only real source of strength to deal with the problems and, yes, even the persecutions of life.

 
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Highlight Text: Acts 6:8-15; 7:59-60 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Stephen was the first martyr of the post-resurrection church; and he was our first example of giving our all for Christ.
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Reference Passage #1 … Matthew 5:10 [NKJV] …  
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, … for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
… Christ’s promise from His Father of eternal blessing for all who are persecuted for righteousness sake.

Reference Passage #2 … John 16:33 [NKJV] …  
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 
… As Christians Jesus even promised tribulation - and even persecution. How we handle it is our tribute to our Lord.

Reference Passage #3 … 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.” 
… And often we have to have the Holy Spirit Power Christ promises when we are his persecuted witnesses.

Reference Passage #4 … 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… We may be persecuted as Christians; but Christ promises His grace to sustain us.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author [unknown today] highlights Stephen (highlight passages) and other martyrs of the faith in asking readers to pray for the persecuted church (see photo). The author wrote: The stories of Stephen and modern martyrs remind us that the message of Christ can be met with brutality. If we have never faced persecution for our faith, let’s pray for the persecuted church around the world. And may we, if and when tested, find grace to be found faithful to the One who suffered so much more for us. 

Fellow Christians, … especially those here in my country (i.e. USA), … the world is raising the heat of persecution on Christians; but here in the U.S., our persecution doesn’t hold a candle to that in the middle east or other areas of the world where Christians are even being martyred for their faith.

Today, the ODB author (not identified) highlighted the first post-resurrection Christian martyr, Stephen [see Acts 6-7 above], as an example of what can happen when we become witnesses for King Jesus and His gospel (see the reference passages above).

Jesus charged all of His disciples (you and me too) to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8); and He even promised His disciples that we would experience tribulation (John 16:33). But our Lord also told us (in that same passage and in 2Cor. 12:9) that He would give us the grace to deal with our tribulation. And Stephen became the first example of raising his eyes to the heavens (see today’s song) when we are persecuted, giving us His strength to live - or die - as witnesses for our Lord.

And today I’m convicted to pray for the persecuted church [again, see photo]. Please join me!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, give all who are persecuted in Your Name the grace and strength to give You glory. … Amen  

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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

November 19, 2016: Creation Speaks of God

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 324  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Brian Doerksen singing … Creation Calls … poignantly singing of the reality of God speaking to mankind thru His creation.

 
Highlight Verse[s]: Isaiah 40:26 [NKJV] …  
26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see Who has created these things, … who brings their host by number. He calls them all by name, … by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; … not one is missing. 
… Just looking up into the stars on a dark night, one cannot deny the reality of a loving God. 
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Highlight Context: Isaiah 40:21-31 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Mankind has no excuses to deny God when he/she look up and around and see the vast and wonderful world and universe in which we we placed.
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Reference Passage #1 … Psalm 19:1 [NKJV] …  
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. 
… King David says it as clearly as it can be said … that God’s glory and wonder is loudly declared in/thru His creation.

Reference Passage #2 … Romans 1:20 [NKJV] …  
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, … 
… Man has no excuse to deny the reality and power of our Creator God.

  My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson, uses a story with which many of us can identify. He wrote: Unsettled by issues at work and at home, Matt decided to take a walk. The evening spring air beckoned. As the infinite sky deepened from blue to black, a thickening fog spilled slowly over the marsh. Stars began to glimmer, heralding the full moon rising in the east. The moment, for Matt, was deeply spiritual. He’s there, he thought. God is there, and He’s got this.

Fellow Christians, … have you ever looked up into the heavens on a clear night (see photo) and been almost overwhelmed by the vastness of what you see in the heavens?

You know, … back when I denied God and called myself an “agnostic,” I had to admit that looking up into the night sky or objectively viewing God’s creation, beckoned me to declare that there was a God; … and ultimately He pursued my heart.

And now, having been overwhelmed by His saving grace, I look up into the stars; and I feel what the Prophet Isaiah wrote in the highlight passage above … or what King David wrote in Psalm 19:1; … and what the Apostle Paul was so right about when he declared (in Romans 1:20) that man has no excuse to deny God when, as Brian Doerksen sings, “Creation Calls.”

Let’s all look around us today and marvel at what God has created and praise Him for it.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, my heart is overwhelmed with thankfulness for what You have created for Your children. … 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, November 18, 2016

November 18, 2016: Real Love Is His Love

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 323  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Chris Tomlin singing … Jesus Loves Me … poignantly singing of the reality of Christ’s love, which shows us how we must love others … sacrificially and completely.

 
Highlight Verse[s]: Luke 22:41-42 [NKJV] …  
41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 
… Our model of sacrificial love overcomes His humanity with His divinity.
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Highlight Context: Luke 22:49-46 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus His intent on sacrificial love in Gethsemane.
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Reference Passage #1 … John 3:16 [NKJV] …  
{I think it's likely anyone here knows this one as well as I do.}
… His love for us was the totality of sacrifice, … just as we should try to emulate in loving others.

Reference Passage #2 … John 13:34-35 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… We only demonstrate Christ’s sacrificial love when our love is likewise sacrificial for others.

Reference Passage #3 … 1st John 3:16 [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. 
… We love like Christ when we’re willing to give our all for others.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Randy Kilgore, uses a true story which occurred during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, … telling of 2 Christian missionaries who were willing to give their lives to save two others. He wrote: In the lives of Edith Coombs and Tsuen Kwei we see a love that rises above cultural or national character. Their sacrifice reminds us of the greater grace and love of our Savior. 

Today in the linked song Chris Tomlin sings about how much Jesus loved those whom He came to save with His ultimate sacrificial love. And his song, the Scriptures above, and today’s ODB entry should lead us (well, at least me) to ask if my love for others, especially those close to me, approaches - or at least pursues - the completeness and sacrifice as the love my Savior had for me dying on that cross to allow me to be with Him for eternity.

I am challenged today - perhaps you are too - to do more to reach out and share His love sacrificially with family, fellow Christians, and anyone God puts in our path needing His love.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, help me to give of my love to others the way You loved 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.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

November 17, 2016: Taking Off the Mask

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 322  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Queen Latifah singing a song from the movie “Joyful Noise” … Fix Me Jesus … poignantly praying for unburdening from one’s hidden sin by the Master Fixer.


Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 6:3-4 [NKJV] …  
3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. 
… As Christians, we’re not to be doing stuff while wearing masks. We just do what is called to do quietly and secretly to honor God.
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Highlight Context: Matthew 6:1-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus from His Sermon on the Mount, teaching on how one is to deal with burdens of the soul. 
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Reference Passage #1 … Psalm 51:1-4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… David, after hiding the debacle involving Bathsheba for a year, finally comes clean and gets real before God, unburdening himself of the masks he had been wearing.

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. 
… By humbling ourselves and surrendering our burdens to the Lord, He will lift us up because He so loves us.

Reference Passage #3 … 1st John 1:9 [NKJV] …  
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
… God’s promise to cleanse us if/when we’re open/honest in confessing our sin.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Anne Cetas, uses a story with which we can all identify to teach about wearing “masks” in our lives. She wrote: Kerri tries hard to get people to admire her. She acts happy most of the time so that others will notice and compliment her on her joyful attitude. Some affirm her because they see her helping people in the community. But in a transparent moment Kerri will admit, "I love the Lord, but in some ways I feel like my life is a fa├žade." Her own sense of insecurity is behind much of her effort of trying to look good to others, and she says she’s running out of energy to keep it up. 
We can probably all relate in some way because it’s not possible to have perfect motives. We love the Lord and others, but our motives for how we live the Christian life are sometimes mixed with our desire to be valued or praised. 

Obviously I cannot know the heart of any reader with me here; but I would bet there are some - if not all - who identify with the ODB illustration above. Most of us - certainly I have - worn masks of behavior which hide the real person inside (see photo). And, as Christians, carrying the burden of conviction and guilt can become unbearable.

That was certainly the case for King David after his debacle with Bathsheba. And after a year of wearing masks, with the help of the Prophet Nathan, David finally got real, took off the masks, and confessed his sin before God (see the Psalm 52 passage). And when he did, God lifted the burden of his guilt, cleansed him, and helped him to move on (on your own see Psalm 32 about David’s restoration).

And when we’re willing/able to take off “the masks” of pretense and get real with God, confessing our burdens and sin, He is willing, able, and promises to cleanse us from any sinfulness we’ve been hiding [see 1John 1 and 1Peter 5 passages above).

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, help me to be real with You and all others 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.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

November 16, 2016: On God’s Team

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 321  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Keith and Kristyn Getty singing their song … By Faith … proclaiming the reality of the power of faith in Christ to defeat the powers of darkness and sin.



Highlight Verse[s]: Hebrews 12:1-2 [NKJV] …  
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
… We are on God’s team; and we are to follow Jesus as our team leader and coach.
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Highlight Context: Hebrews 11:31-12:3 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… To the Jewish Christians in the 1st century (and to us), He exhorts us to run the race of life, looking unto Jesus in order to win.
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Reference Passage #1 … Romans 8:31-37 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul teaches the truth that when we’re on God’s team, nothing … NOTHING … can separate us from God’s love. … If God is for us, nothing can stand against us (Rom. 8:32).

Reference Passage #2 … Philippians 3:13-14 [NKJV] …  
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 
… God, thru Paul, shows faithful Christians how we must move forward - TOGETHER - faithfully following our Lord to the goal He has for us as His winning team.

Reference Passage #3 … 2nd Peter 1:2-4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Peter encourages persecuted Christians that God has given believers all we need to walk in victory.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland, uses a sports allegory to illustrate how we Christians are on God’s team. He wrote: A large sign at the Texas A&M University football stadium says “HOME OF THE 12TH MAN.” [see photo] While each team is allowed eleven players on the field, the 12th Man is the presence of thousands of A&M students who remain standing during the entire game to cheer their team on. 
 The tradition traces its roots to 1922 when the coach called a student from the stands to suit up and be ready to replace an injured player. Although he never entered the game, his willing presence on the sideline greatly encouraged the team. 

Today’s ODB entry highlights Chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews where the Author, writing to 1st Century persecuted Jewish Christians, presents a list of faithful believers who preceded the most faithful of God’s followers, King Jesus; and this chapter highlights the impact that all these faithful had on Christians today.

The ODB for today uses a sports allegory to illustrate how we, who are on God’s team of faithful followers, can be - and should be - impacted by the faith of past believers to move forward to follow Christ as our team leader and to be on God’s winning team.

The question of challenge from today’s ODB asks if we’re part of Christ’s team; and if so, are we following Him faithfully to carry out the goal and plan He has for His team of disciples? Personally, I have decided to follow King Jesus as my Coach and Team Leader. I so desire to be one of those faithful who the Gettys sing about in the song linked above.

How about you?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, show us Your game plan and be our team leader. We will follow Your lead. … 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, November 15, 2016

November 15, 2016: I Matter to God!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 320  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from the group Avalon singing … No Orphans of God … proclaiming the reality of our relationship with Christ … that we matter to Him and are never unworthy His love. … And THEN ON TO THIS LINK to hear Alan Jackson sing the old hymn, In the Garden, poignantly singing of the joy we glean from being with Jesus and sharing time with Him daily.

 
Highlight Verse[s]: Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 [NKJV] …  
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. 
… Solomon concludes his treatise on meaning in life with the bottom line that we must obey God’s will and follow His ways thru “the Preacher,” which is His word.
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Highlight Context: Ecclesiastes 1:1-3, 12:9-14 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Solomon’s conclusion about life after living in pride and vanity for so many years.
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Reference Passage #1 … 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.” 
… Jesus shows His disciples the reality of how we find Him manifest in our lives … by knowing and loving Him and following His commandments.

Reference Passage #2 … Romans 8:16-18 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul exhorts fellow Christians to realize that there are no orphans (see song link) in Christ … that we, who know Christ as Lord/Savior have become joint heirs with King Jesus forever.

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. 
 … God is God and we are not! … So, we find our meaning in life in/thru our relationship with Him; and we can always rely on His love.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Phillip Yancey, tells a pointed story to shake any Christian from feelings of unworthiness. He wrote: I stand in the cashier line of the local supermarket and look around me. I see teenagers with shaved heads and nose rings looking through the snack foods; a young professional buying one steak, a few twigs of asparagus, and a sweet potato; an elderly woman pondering the peaches and strawberries. Does God know all these people by name? I ask myself. Do they really matter to Him? 
The Maker of all things is the Maker of all human beings, and each of us is deemed worthy of His individual attention and love. God demonstrated that love in person on the gnarly hills of Israel and ultimately on the cross. 

Truth! … But do we get it? … Especially do we trust God’s word and His promises (see Scripture citations above)? Because if we do, we’ll realize what the group Avalon is singing in the linked song today … “There are NO ORPHANS” in the family of God. All are challenged by life; but NONE rejected!!

And that’s the realization I get from dwelling in and delving into God’s word here EVERY DAY. I find closeness with God in/thru His word; and He speaks to me; and as the old hymn sings [link above], … “He tells me I am his own!” And thru His truth, I know that I’m always loved and matter to my Lord and Savior.

Dear one, ... get with Him today in His word and let Him show you how much He loves you.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Here with You daily in the garden of Your truth, I share Your love and know that I matter 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.

Monday, November 14, 2016

November 14, 2016: United In Christ

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 319  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Steve Green singing … Find Us Faithful … proclaiming what should be the focus of our entire life … working thru the Body of Christ to express His love in a love darkened world.


Highlight Verse[s]: Romans 15:5-6 [NKJV] …  
5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
… In Christ, we are exhorted to come together with like-mindedness so as to glorify our God with the unity of the Body.
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Highlight Context: Romans 15:1-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul exhorts Christians to unite as His body to bear the burdens of others.
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Reference Passage #1 … John 13:34-35 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus commands us to come together to love others as He loved us, so that our unity of love will glorify Him.

Reference Passage #2 … 1st Corinthians 12:12 [NKJV] …  
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 
… Coming together as one Body in Christ.

Reference Passage #3 … Ephesians 4:1-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul exhorts fellow Christians to live as one Body, serving One Lord and bearing one another’s burdens.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, tells a pointed story to illustrate how Christians must unite in Christ to reach out in faith to a sin-darkened world. She wrote: While Nicholas Taylor was boarding a train in Perth, Australia, his leg became wedged in the gap between the platform and a commuter car. When safety officials could not free him, they coordinated the efforts of nearly 50 passengers who lined up and, on the count of three, pushed against the train. Working in unison, they shifted the weight just enough to free Taylor’s leg. 

I’m afraid that all too often I don’t see Christians coming together in the unity exhibited in this story, performing as one body - Christ’s Body, … united and reaching out to shine the light/love of Christ [as He commanded in John 13:34-35] to a lost and ever-darkening world.

What the Apostle Paul was exhorting to Christians in the first century (see Pauline passages above) still holds true today for us as Christ’s body - the Church. We need to come together in unity- one Body - to more powerfully reach out and share Christ’s love with a love-starved world.

And I’m convicted to do my part as a member of His Body, using my Christ-imparted gifts, to glorify My Lord today.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Join me with other fellow Christians, Lord, to be Your body to lift up others with your love/strength 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.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

November 13, 2016: Paying Attention

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 318  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Dennis Jernigan and Natalie Grant singing Dennis’ song … You are My All In All … proclaiming what should be the focus of our entire life … Jesus Christ … and the worthiness of His Name.


Highlight Verse[s]: Nehemiah 8:3 [NKJV] …  
3 Then he [Ezra] read from it [The Book of the Law] in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. 
… Ezra gathers God's remnant and preaches from His word ... and they pay attention!                
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Highlight Context: Nehemiah 8:1-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Ezra preaches God’s word to a people who had been so turned away from Him for so long. 
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Reference Passage #1 … Matthew 7:28-29 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus concludes His Sermon on the Mount and the people, having heard Him were astounded at His authority.

Reference Passage #2 … Acts 8:4-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Phillip preaches with God’s anointing, … the people listen, and many are healed and saved.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, uses a personal story to teach about our need to pay attention when God’s truth is being revealed to us. He wrote: As I sat in the auditorium, I faced the pastor with my eyes fixed on him. My posture suggested I was absorbing everything he was saying. Suddenly I heard everybody laughing and clapping. Surprised, I looked about. The preacher had apparently said something humorous, but I had no clue what it might have been. From all appearances I had been listening carefully, but in reality my mind was far away.  
It’s possible to hear what is being said but not listen, to watch but not see, to be present and yet absent. In such a condition, we may miss important messages meant for us.

Can anybody reading with me here today identify with the author’s story? Perhaps others here are thinking, as am I, … “Been there, … done that, … got that T-shirt!”

Yeah, … we’ve all had times when we had trouble paying attention when we needed to be focusing more when God’s word was being preached or revealed to us. Today’s Scriptures tell of several situations when God’s people were able to focus on His truth or His messenger; and their lives were changed by paying attention, hearing, and then applying God’s word.

The attached photo clearly describes what we all need to take away from this ODB entry today. In this world where we are bombarded by so much useless or counter-productive information, we so need to get to a quiet place daily and PAY ATTENTION to what God desires to share with us of Himself. That’s why you find me here daily, getting alone with God and using Our Daily Bread to seek God’s truth, … praying each morning that God will reveal Himself in the quiet and through His word.

And the wonderful thing is, when I pay attention … HE DOES!!!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Thank You for showing me Your will and Your way thru Your word. … Amen  

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

Saturday, November 12, 2016

November 12, 2016: Bread of Life

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 317  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and from an anonymous worship group singing … On Bread, One Body … singing of Christians becoming the Body in Christ and partaking of Him as the Bread of Life until we join Him in Glory.


Highlight Verse[s]: John 6:51 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK …  
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” 
… Jesus declares that HE is the bread of life, from Whom we partake of His essence daily. 
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Highlight Context: John 6:31-54 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus teaches on Who He is … the bread of life.
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Reference Passage … None today [NKJV] …  

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Keila Ochoa, teaches about Jesus being the “Bread of Life.” She wrote: I live in a small Mexican city where every morning and evening you can hear a distinctive cry: “Bread!” A man with a huge basket on his bike [see attached photo] offers a great variety of fresh sweet and salty breads for sale. I used to live in a bigger city, where I had to go to the bakery to buy bread. So I enjoy having fresh bread brought to my door. …
 Someone has said that evangelism is really one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread. Many of us can say, “Once I was spiritually hungry, spiritually starving because of my sins. Then I heard the good news. Someone told me where to find bread: in Jesus. And my life changed!” 

The question, I believe for me (and others), from today’s ODB entry boils down to whether we partake of God’s daily bread (i.e., His essence) every day, … and equally importantly, whether we’re sharing that bread with others who will die eternally without it. I don’t know about you, but I need to share the Bread of Life with others today.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Show me someone who needs the Bread of Life today; and help me to be willing to share it [i.e. You] with them. … 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, November 11, 2016

November 11, 2016: Seeing Him Clearly

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 316

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Alan Jackson singing … What A Friend We Have In Jesus … singing of our God and Lord, Whom we can approach as our Friend.


Highlight Verse[s]: John 15:15 [NKJV] …
15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
… Seeing Jesus clearly … as our Friend as well as our Lord and Messiah.
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Highlight Context: John 15:12-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus is not only Messiah and Lord; … He is our friend.
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Reference Passage #1 … Matthew 19:13-15 [NKJV] …
13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there. 
 … Jesus, our Messiah and LORD, was gentle with little children.

Reference Passage #2 … Mark 4:34-41 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
… Jesus, being God in the flesh, was so powerful He could command nature to obey Him.

Reference Passage #3 … Mark 6:34 [NKJV] …
34 And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things. 
… Yet, … Jesus was compassionate on all He contacted and taught.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Jennifer, teaches how we must see Jesus clearly for Whom He really is by using a story about a friend’s dog as an illustration. She wrote: Raleigh looks like a powerful dog—he is large and muscular and has a thick coat of fur. And he weighs over 100 pounds! Despite his appearance, Raleigh connects well with people. His owner takes him to nursing homes and hospitals to bring people a smile. 
Once, a four-year-old girl spotted Raleigh across a room. She wanted to pet him, but was afraid to get close. Eventually, her curiosity overcame her sense of caution and she spent several minutes talking to him and petting him [see attached photo]. She discovered that he is a gentle creature, even though he is powerful. 

In much the same way, Jesus’ first 12 disciples had trouble getting a clear picture of Whom they were following. They wanted Him to be a powerful King to overthrow Rome’s dominance; but then they would see Him treat little children so very gently (see Matt. 19 passage). They saw Him calm nature with the wave of a hand (Mark 4:34-41; yet they saw Him compassionately teach masses of people about His love and treat them as dear friends (Mark 6 and John 15 passages above).

So, how do we see Jesus? Do we see Him as our friend, … our Messiah, … our Good Shepherd, … our Lord and God?

To all of these I would say clearly and confidently … ”YES!!”

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Your Son, Jesus, is my Savior and My Lord; … yet He is my Friend! … 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, November 10, 2016

November 10, 2016: Newness in Christ

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 315

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Daniel O’Donnell singing … Here I Am Lord … singing of of God’s call on our lives to follow Him and become His disciples.


Highlight Verse[s]: Mark 1:17 [NKJV] …    
17 Then Jesus said to them [Simon and Andrew], “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 They immediately left their nets and followed Him. 
… Two lives with new purpose.
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Highlight Context: Mark 1:16-22 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus called His Disciples to a new purpose in life … to be fishers of men.
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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. 
… Surrendering all to let Him give us His purpose and direction.

Reference Passage #2 … Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] …
23 … If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, … take up his cross daily, … and follow Me. 
… Jesus' call to discipleship and divine purpose.

Reference Passage #3 … 2nd Corinthians 5:17 [NKJV] …
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 
 … Once called in Christ, we have newness of purpose.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, illustrates the transformation of purpose of discipleship in Christ with a story of the creation of “blue jeans.” He wrote: Jacob Davis was a tailor with a problem. It was the height of the Gold Rush in the 1800s American West and the gold miners’ work pants kept wearing out. His solution? Davis went to a local dry goods company owned by Levi Strauss, purchased tent cloth, and made work pants from that heavy, sturdy material—and blue jeans were born. 
Today, denim jeans in a variety of forms (including Levi’s - attached logo) are among the most popular clothing items in the world, and all because tent material was given a new purpose. 

This ODB illustration is really an apt word picture of the change which took place in the lives of the men whom Jesus called to be His original Disciples, … men like Simon, who became Peter, and his brother, Andrew, … two fishermen who became fishers of men (see highlight passage above).

These men were transformed completely by Jesus’ calling to a newness of purpose to serve Him as their Messiah and Lord. And when we are called to follow Christ as His disciples (Luke 9:23), we too find a new direction and purpose for life (Proverbs 3:5-6); and we take on newness of purpose (2nd Cor. 5:17) to serve our Lord.

What will we do today to work out God’s calling on our hearts and lives?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, again today I serve You as a poster boy for 2Cor. 5:17. … 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.