Tuesday, August 22, 2017

August 22, 2017 … Ripe for Harvest

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 234 

Devotional Song:GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Steve Green singing … People Need the Lord … poignantly and powerfully conveying the truth that we, as Christians, need to recognize that the harvest of souls all around is ripe unto harvest.


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Highlight Verse[s]: John 4:25 [NLT] … 
35 You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. 
… Jesus points us toward the harvest of souls all around us.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 4:25-42 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus shows His disciples that even the Samaritans were ripe for the harvest of souls in God’s kingdom.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Trust that God will lead us to the ones with whom we are to share Him.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, related a word picture of fruit that was ripe for the harvest, just as so many we contact every day who need Jesus. The ODB author wrote: In late summer, we went for a walk in the New Forest in England and had fun picking the blackberries that grew in the wild [see photo] while watching the horses frolicking nearby. As I enjoyed the bounty of the sweet fruit planted by others perhaps many years before, I thought of Jesus’s words to His disciples: “I sent you to reap what you have not worked for” (John 4:38). 

As Steve Green sings, my questions from today’s ODB and my meditation in John, Chapter 4, are … Whom will God present for me today who is ripe for hearing about Jesus? … How many lost souls will I see today who need my Lord?

Just as the ODB author was able to harvest blackberries which were ripe for the picking, today my Lord may present someone to us whom He wants to use us to harvest for His kingdom. So, let’s pray that we recognize their ripeness and be the ones to take in the sweet harvest for God’s glory.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Show me someone today - or tomorrow - whom I can have the privilege of harvesting for Your family. … Amen

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

Monday, August 21, 2017

August 21, 2017 … In the Stillness

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 233 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Steven Curtis Chapman singing his song … Be Still and Know … poignantly and powerfully conveying the truth that we need to be still in our lives to be able to know God more intimately.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 46:10a [NLT] … 
10 “Be still and know that I am God. …” 
… God speaks, thru the psalmist, of our need to find intimacy with God in the stillness of our lives. But … where to find the stillness is the key!
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 46:1-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist writes of being able to find God in all the clamor of the world.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Joshua 24:15 [NLT] … 
15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” 
… Joshua made his choice as to Whom he would pursue. We have to make our choice.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … 2Cor. 9:6-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul’s word picture shows that when we give only a small amount of quiet-time to God, He can return only a small amount of His enabling grace in return. But when we give Him a lot of dedicated time, He will return it many fold with His grace.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, wrote of the state of our world to prevent our deepening relationship with God. The ODB author wrote: “We’ve created more information in the last five years than in all of human history before it, and it’s coming at us all the time” (Daniel Levitin, author of The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload).  “In a sense,” Levitin says, “we become addicted to the hyperstimulation.” The constant barrage of news and knowledge can dominate our minds. In today’s environment of media bombardment, it becomes increasingly difficult to find time to be quiet, to think, and to pray. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God,” reminding us of the necessity to take time to focus on the Lord. 

If you were Satan trying to keep Christians from praying and getting deeply into God’s word, what kind of a strategy would you develop? Well, you probably have already recognized that satan’s system of deterrence is already in operation … BIGTIME! In this digitalized information age, we are bombarded with informational overload. And we are captivated by our choice to devote our time to digital devices which distract us to their screens, where we spend hours being stimulated and even addicted to their lure.

Hence we become indentured slaves to what the world wants us to see/hear, rather than choosing to do what Steven Curtis Chapman sings in today’s linked song … to BE STILL and get to know God more intimately. We need to ask ourselves how much time we are choosing to devote to our relationship with God and how much time we’re choosing to devote to the clamor and confusion of the world.

Because if we don’t, as Paul taught in 2Cor. 9:6-8, plant our seeds of devotion, with disciplined time spend relating to God, we will be vulnerable to Satan’s system in the world, distracting us from those disciplines of solitude, prayer, and devotion to God’s word. And in doing so, we we will not be able to reap the benefits of God’s enabling grace.

Personally, as you can see by my time spent here in prayer and journaling God’s truth, with time alone, devoted to what God gives me daily, I’ve chosen to become addicted to this morning solitude, … rather than to be distracted by worldly informational overload. And as Joshua had chosen for himself (see Joshua 24:15), we have to choose for ourselves … Whom we will spend time with and serve.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Daily I will be here, Lord, … with YOU. … So, help me to avoid Satan’s distractions and bring me close to You in this stillness. … Amen

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

Sunday, August 20, 2017

August 20, 2017 … God Shows Up

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 232 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill singing the old hymn … How Great Thou Art … at the 2011 ACM special awards when God showed up to turn the entertainment show into a worship service. …
AND THEN ON TO THIS LINK where blind singer Gordon Mote sings Don’t Let Me Miss The Glory with the prayer all Christians should have to be able to see God’s glory in the midst of trials/tribulations.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Esther 8:16 [NLT] … 
16 The Jews were filled with joy and gladness and were honored everywhere. 
… When it looked like the Jews were about to be wiped out, God showed up and everything turned for His glory, causing the people to revel with joy.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Esther 8:11-17 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God showed up to save His people from peril using Mordecai and Esther in an unusual set of circumstances to show off His glory.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Matthew 14:25-27 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus is always with us, as believers; but sometimes we just have trouble seeing Him in troubling situations.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Hebrews 13:5 [NLT] … 
7 … For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” 
… God is always there, … we just have to be observant enough to find Him.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Tim Gustafson, told a personal story where God showed up to show off His glory in a curious set of circumstances. The ODB author wrote: As the minister spoke at a funeral for an old military veteran, he mused about where the deceased might be. But then, instead of telling the people how they could know God, he speculated about things not found anywhere in Scripture. Where is the hope? I thought. 
At last he asked us to turn to a closing hymn. And as we rose to sing “How Great Thou Art,” people began to praise God from the depths of their souls. Within moments, the spirit of the entire room had changed. Suddenly, surprisingly, in the middle of the third verse my emotions overwhelmed my voice. 

Have you ever seen our great God show up and show off His glory in curious, sometimes amazing, places? In 2011, many were watching an awards show of County Music artists on TV; and they had Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill sing a powerful rendition of that old hymn How Great Thou Art (see YouTube link), the one mentioned in the ODB entry above; and all of a sudden God shows up and the TV audience became a worship service. It was amazing to see God’s glory on display that night.

And I think of something much simpler like flowers growing beautifully thru the cracks of rocks on a city street [as in the attached photo]. Or biblically, when God showed up and saved His people with young Esther intervening before the King. Most certainly, our Lord will never leave us or forsake us (see Heb. 13:5); but as the disciples almost missed Him in that horrible storm (see Matt. 14:25-27), sometimes we let our fears and faithlessness blind us to our Lord’s presence; and we miss His gory. 

As the amazing blind pianist and song writer, Gordon Mote sings his song [linked above), we need to pray that we don’t let our egos and fears blind us to be able to see God’s glory in even some flowers growing in strange places or when circumstances seem to force our Lord far away from us.

God’s there, ... we just need to trust that He is and do our best not to miss His glory.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … On this Sunday, Lord, … help me to see Your glory and worship You in church 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.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

August 19, 2017 … God’s Anecdote for Anguish

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 231 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Sara Groves singing her song … It’s Going To Be Alright … a poignant song reminding us, as Christians, that there is hope in Christ … no matter what our circumstances.


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Highlight Verse[s]: John 16:20, 33 [NLT] … 
20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. … 
 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” 
… Jesus’ promise to His disciples that their grief would turn to joy … and it did!
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 16:16-22 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus tries to calm His disciples in His prediction of His impending death.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Acts 1:3 [NLT] … 
3 During the forty days after He suffered and died, He appeared to the apostles from time to time, and He proved to them in many ways that He was actually alive. And He talked to them about the Kingdom of God. 
… Just as Jesus had promised He returned to His grieving Disciples to give them joy for 40 days following His death.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Philippians 4:6-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul exhorts fellow Christians to use God’s anecdote for our anguish.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … 1st Peter 5:7 [NLT] … 
7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 
… God invites us to give all our cares to Him … but DO WE?

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Alyson Kieda, used an apt word picture to describe how God can replace our angst with His joy. The ODB author wrote: Kelly’s pregnancy brought complications, and doctors were concerned. During her long labor, they decided to whisk her away for a Cesarean section. But despite the ordeal, Kelly quickly forgot her pain when she held her newborn son. Joy had replaced anguish. 

And this comparison … of a mother’s pain turning from anguish to absolute joy at the birth of her new baby (see photo) … was the word picture Jesus used (see highlight passage) to describe how He CAN AND WILL replace our anguish with His joy … IF we let Him. That was Jesus’ promise to His disciples just before He died; and He fulfilled that promise by returning to them after the resurrection [see Acts 1:3], … giving them 40 days of joyful sharing before He ascended to heaven.

And as Sara Groves sings, and Paul promises (Phil. 4:7), our God will give us His peace to replace our anguish, if we are but willing to cast our cares on Him (see also 1Pet. 5:7). But we’ve got to be willing to do just that, trusting that our Lord can replace our angst with His caring love. How about it, fellow believer?

Sounds like a plan to me … a good one!!!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Be my care-taker today, Lord! … Amen

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

Friday, August 18, 2017

August 18, 2017 … Remaking Me Today

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 230 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from the group Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing their song … He’ll do Whatever It Takes … a poignant song reminding us, as Christians, that our God is doing whatever it takes to reshape us into His own image.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 100:3 [NLT] … 
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are His. … 
… About as clear as one can say it … We are HIS!
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 100 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist declares that God is good, … in that He created us for Himself.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Psalm 139:13-14 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… He made me (and you) as His workmanship.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Jeremiah 18:1-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet lays out God’s truth … that God is the Potter and we are His clay.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … John 1:3 [NLT] … 
3 God created everything through Him and nothing was created except through Him. 
… He made it all!

Reference Passage #4 [NLT] : … Ephesians 2:10 [NLT] … 
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. 
… He made me [and you] to be His masterpiece.

Reference Passage #5 [NLT] : … Philippians 1:6 [NLT] … 
6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. 
… Yes, He made me … but He’s not done with me yet!

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David Roper, got right to the point he was trying to emphasize today. The ODB author wrote: Each of us is an original from God’s hand. There are no self-made men or women. No one ever became talented, buffed, or bright all by himself or herself. God made each of us all by Himself. He thought of us and formed us out of His unspeakable love. God made your body, mind, and soul. And He isn’t done with you; He is still making you. 

Fellow Christian, … let me be blunt, as was David Roper above. If you believe, as do I, that the Bible is truth … ALL TRUE! … Then, if you’ve take in and meditated on the Scriptures above - ALL TRUE! - then you must realize that we Christians were made by God, for God, to be in Christ, for His glory. We are God’s masterpiece; but as the Potter (see photo), He’s not done with me yet. He is making me over into His image; and the closer I get to that image, the more I look like Him and the more I glorify Him.

So, I say. Do your thing, Lord? As the song reminds me, … you’re doing whatever it takes to remake me; and I pray I yield to your Hands this day. And as the Prophet Jeremiah declared (see above), You, … Lord, … are the Potter, I am Your clay.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Make me over into Your image today … and all days I live for You; … whatever it takes! … Amen

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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

August 17, 2017 … Our Real Home

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 229 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the young singer, Blandy Garcia, singing … Heaven’s My Home … a song reminding us, as Christians, that no matter where we live now, our real home is in heaven and now we’re just traveling thru life as sojourners.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Micah 4:4 [NLT] … 
4 Everyone will live in peace and prosperity, enjoying their own grapevines and fig trees, for there will be nothing to fear. … 
… The Messiah will come for us and take us to His home, where we will live in peace and prosperity forever.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Micah 4:1-5 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet was reminding God’s people of His promise to return and take them into the Promised Land to live with Him forever in a home He has created for us.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Isaiah 41:10 [NLT] … 
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. 
 … Isaiah, prophesying to God’s people, along side of Micah, declaring God’s promise to lift up His people in their times of need.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … John 14:1-3 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus’ promise to His disciples (you and me too!) of an eternal home with Him.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Peterson, used the reality of the refugee status in this world to illustrate how our lives now are in temporary domiciles … that we long for our eternal home with Jesus. The ODB author wrote: Sixty-five million. That’s the number of refugees in our world today—people who have had to leave their homes due to conflict and persecution—and it’s higher than it’s ever been. The UN has petitioned leaders to work together in receiving refugees so that every child will get an education, every adult will find meaningful work, and every family will have a home. 

Today’s ODB author is reminding us, as disciples of Christ, that no mater where we live now, we can look forward to that day when we will live in peace and prosperity with our Lord … FOREVER. And as in the ODB illustration today, there are millions living as depicted and described above in refugee camps [see photo], … people who could latch onto that promise - i.e. that truth - as they live in squaller and pain.

But no matter what our status in life, or where we live now, as Micah and Isaiah reminded a displaced Judah in the OT [see passages from Micah 4 and Isaiah 41], and Jesus reminded His disciples in the the NT (see John 14:1-3), our Lord is going to return for His Bride and take us home to live in a wonderful place He has prepared for any/all who have believed on Him and received His saving grace.

So, as young Blandy Garcia sings in the linked song, we should all look forward to our permanent and eternal home in glory.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … As You promised Lord to Your disciples, come soon and take us 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, August 16, 2017

August 16, 2017 … Fear or Faith?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 228 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Mia Fieldes singing her song … Fearless … a song repeated from my journal entry yesterday, poignantly singing of how we, as Christians, much choose where we are going to let God lead us forward or retreat in fear to the enemy.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Numbers 14:9 [NLT] … 
9 Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” 
… God’s people had a choice to follow their faith or retreat in fear. We have the same choice everyday as Christians.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Numbers 13:25-14:9 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Before entering God’s promised land, His people rebelled and balked at Moses’ leadership, choosing to follow fear rather than yielding to their faith in God.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Joshua 24:15 [NLT] … 
15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” 
 … Joshua had a choice as to Whom he and his family would serve. We have the same choice today!

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Faith is always a measure of our trust in God, … fear, almost always, shows our faith in following our spiritual enemies.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … 2 Timothy 1:7 [NLT] … 
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 
… Any time we FEEL fearful at a choice that seems right in our faith, that CANNOT be from God, … but rather from Satan.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, used a personal story to illustrate how we can often let feelings of fear lead us in the wrong direction. The ODB author wrote: “My husband was offered a promotion in another country, but I feared leaving our home, so he reluctantly declined the offer,” my friend shared with me. She explained how apprehension over such a big change kept her from embracing a new adventure, and that she sometimes wondered what they missed in not moving. 

I’m not a betting man, but I would almost wager that any/all of us have been in places, as Christians, as pictured in the photo, where we’re faced with a choice of following our fears or our faith. I’m sure any reader here with me has a personal example, maybe even one we’re facing today.

The Israelites, in today’s highlight passage, had such a choice just before entering God’s promised land of milk and honey; but they balked and wanted to go back to Egypt and slavery. Certainly we can see that they were being led by fear rather than faith. Later, when Joshua was leading God’s people in the promised land, he told the people [see Joshua 24:15] they were going to have to choose the God (or gods) they would follow; but he stated clearly that He would follow his faith in God.

And we read from Paul, mentoring the new preacher/leader, Timothy, telling him (and us) that when we have feelings (i.e., a spirit) of fear, … that this ALWAYS comes from something other than our God, Who would NEVER give us a spirit of fear.

So, many days, … perhaps today, … we’re going to be faced with a fear verses faith challenge; and we’re going to have to decide which road we’re going to follow. I pray it will be the road of faith we follow ... and become, as Mia Fieldes again sings [link above repeated from my blog yesterday], … FEARLESS.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Help me to follow my faith in You and avoid responding to my feelings of fear. … Amen

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 15, 2017 … Wings of Protection

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 227 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Mia Fieldes singing her song … Fearless … poignantly singing of how we can deal with the trials life without fear because of God’s protective wings.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 91:4 [NLT] … 
4 “He (our God) will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. 
… David uses a strong word picture of God’s protection for the righteous.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 91 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… King David shows his fearless attitude as he prays for God’s refuge and protection
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Psalm 17:4-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… King David is clear as to whom and why God provides His wings of protection.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Isaiah 26:3 [NLT] … 
3 You (God) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all those whose thoughts are fixed on you!  
… We all look for peace, don’t we? Well, here’s where to look!

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … Isaiah 41:10 [NLT] … 
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand. 
… We can be fearless (hear today’s song) with God lifting us up.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Linda Washington used an apt word picture from nature to illustrate God’s protective wings covering those who trust Him and rely upon Him. The ODB author wrote: When I think of protection, I don’t automatically think of a bird’s feathers. Though a bird’s feathers might seem like a flimsy form of protection, there is more to them than meets the eye. 
Bird feathers are an amazing example of God’s design. Feathers have a smooth part and a fluffy part. The smooth part of the feather has stiff barbs with tiny hooks that lock together like the prongs of a zipper. The fluffy part keeps a bird warm. Together both parts of the feather protect the bird from wind and rain. But many baby birds are covered in a fluffy down and their feathers haven’t fully developed. So a mother bird has to cover them in the nest with her own feathers to protect them from wind and rain. 

King David used this word picture too in two of His psalms [see the links to Psalms 17 and 91 [above, especially Ps. 91], where he liked God’s protection to the wings of a mama bird [see photo]. And the Prophet Isaiah also showed readers of God’s truth how God will provide peace and protection to those who trust in God’s wings of protection (see Isaiah 26:3 and 41:10 passages).

And most certainly there are times when we need the FEARLESS nature sung my Mia Fieldes in the linked sing. But, I know quite often it’s difficult to see God’s wings covering us in times of peril or fearful situations. The news these days is full of fearful images of potential danger; but we who are in Christ need to pray the truth of Psalm 91 back to a God Who desires to cover us with His wings of protection.

Yes, today!!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Your words from King David give me peace in times of trouble and trial, Lord. … Amen

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

Monday, August 14, 2017

August 14, 2017 … Loving the Kids

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 226 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from an anonymous chorus of children singing … Jesus Loves the Little Sining … poignantly singing of just how much God loves children.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 18:5-6 [NLT] … 
5 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf[a] is welcoming me. 6 But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. …” 
… Jesus loved the little children and severely warned against treating them badly. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 18:1-10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus makes it very clear that He loved children and that we, His disciples, needed to have attitudes of faith like a child to inherit the kingdom of God.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Matthew 19:13-15 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus rebukes [esp. v. 14] His disciples as they tried to shield him from the children; and once again (see Matt. 18 above) He showed his deep love for children.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … James 1:27 [NLT] … 
27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. 
… Our faith can only be genuine IF we have a heart to protect and provide for widows and children, especially the orphans.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Bill Crowder used an historical illustration to teach on Christians caring for children as a measure of the reality of our faith. The ODB author wrote: Thomas Barnado entered the London Hospital medical school in 1865, dreaming of life as a medical missionary in China. Barnado soon discovered a desperate need in his own front yard—the many homeless children living and dying on the streets of London. Barnado determined to do something about this horrendous situation. Developing homes for destitute children in London’s east end, Barnado rescued some 60,000 boys and girls from poverty and possible early death. Theologian and pastor John Stott said, “Today we might call him the patron saint of street kids.”

I’ve actually had people, who think of themselves as “progressive” thinkers, argue that since the Bible doesn’t condemn abortion outright that we, who call ourselves “Christian conservatives,” shouldn’t come down so harshly against it. And the argument always hinges on how one defines “children,” doesn’t it? Because if one defines an unborn fetus as an actual “CHILD,” then Jesus’ attitude and description of how we should view a “child” speaks forcefully against abortion.

In the Scriptures from Matthew 18 and 19 above, we read how Jesus rebuked anyone, including His disciples, against hindering any “CHILD” from being able to come to Him, saying that only those who came to Him so humbly as a “CHILD” will inherit the kingdom of God.  So, if one defines a fetus as a “child,” as I believe it is, then we must NEVER do anything to inhibit that child from being able to come to Jesus.

The argument is really that simple!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … May we do all we can to let the little children come to You and may we come to You with the attitude of a child. … Amen

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

August 13, 2017 … Fear or Faith?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 225 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Cece Winans singing … His Strength Is Perfect … poignantly singing of how God is always there to give us His strength when our strength is seemingly gone.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Habakkuk 3:19 [NLT] … 
19 The sovereign Lord is my strength! 
… We should be grateful in all things.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Habakkuk 3:16-19 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet gained the faith to overcome his fear and was able to sustain his joy amidst trying, even disastrous, circumstances.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Isaiah 41:10 [NLT] … 
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. 
… But do we believe it?

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Romans 8:28 [NLT] … 
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 
… One of God’s toughest truths to live out when we’re confronted by dire circumstances.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … 2 Corinthians 12: 9 [NLT] … 
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 
… In the midst of painful circumstances, Paul remembered Jesus’ words.

Reference Passage #4 [NLT] : … 2 Timothy 1:7 [NLT] … 
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 
… Feelings of fear CAN NEVER come from God.

  My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Karen Wolfe used a personal story to illustrate how fear can sometimes blunt or block our faith. The ODB author wrote: The doctor’s words landed in her heart with a thud. It was cancer. Her world stopped as she thought of her husband and children. They had prayed diligently, hoping for a different outcome. What would they do? With tears streaming down her face, she said softly, “God, this is beyond our control. Please be our strength.” 
What do we do when the prognosis is devastating, when our circumstances are beyond our control? Where do we turn when the outlook seems hopeless? 

My favorite OT character is the Prophet, Habakkuk. I so identify with his vulnerability and willingness to take his fears to God, which he did in the opening chapter of his poetic journal. And like the word picture in the ODB entry above, God, like the doctor, gave Habakkuk a very bad prognosis. And tho the Prophet didn’t want to hear God’s words, he finally realized that God was in control; and that God loved him and His people in spite of the impending horror. And, as one reads in Hab. 3:16-19, Habakkuk came to a place where he trusted God and was able to hold on to his faith in the midst of the fearful times.

If my readers today have taken the time to meditate on the linked song and the truths from God’s word above, we, who are in Christ, should realize that a spirit of (i.e., feelings) of fear NEVER come from God. Such feelings of fear are only provoked by our spiritual enemies and part of a default of our sin nature. But in Christ, as the song declares [and we read in 2Cor. 12:9], God’s strength is able to supplant our fears in the midst of trying times and give us the strength to live on in faith [see Isaiah 41:10 and 2Tim. 1:7].

My Prayer Today:   Abba Father, … King Jesus, … I Your strength today, Lord!   … Amen

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

Saturday, August 12, 2017

August 12, 2017 … It’s ALL His!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 224 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Amy Grant singing the old song … Count Your Blessings … poignantly singing of how we need to keep our lives in perspective by remembering God’s many blessings.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Deuteronomy 8:10 [NLT] … 
10 When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 
… We should be grateful in all things.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Deuteronomy 8:6-18 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Moses exhorts God’s people, about to enter the Promised Land, to be grateful for His providence and provisions.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Deuteronomy 8:17-18 [NLT] … 
17 He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath. 
… Remembering that without God we are nothing.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Romans 15:5 [NLT] … 
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 
… Jesus is clear to His disciples (i.e., you and me) that without Him we can not be fruitful.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … Philippians 4:6-7, 19 [NLT] ... USE THIS LINK
… Paul on how to eliminate worry and remember that it is GOD Who supplies ALL of our needs in/for Christ.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Cindy Hess Kasper used a personal story to teach on how we need to be grateful for God’s providence. The ODB author wrote: In Australia, it can take hours to drive between towns and fatigue can lead to accidents. So at busy holiday times rest stops are set up on major highways with volunteers offering free coffee. My wife, Merryn, and I grew to enjoy these stops during our long drives there. 
On one trip, we pulled in and walked over to order our coffee. An attendant handed the two cups over, and then asked me for two dollars. I asked why. She pointed to the small print on the sign. At this stop, only the driver got free coffee; you had to pay for passengers. Annoyed, I told her this was false advertising, paid the two dollars, and walked off. Back at the car, Merryn pointed out my error: I had turned a gift into an entitlement and become ungrateful for what I received. She was right. 

Oh how we’ve become a culture of selfish entitlement and a world of needless worry. And we forget Who supplies everything and watches over everyone. And if we take in today’s linked song and the Scriptures above, perhaps we all need to so - as I did this morning - taking inventory and being grateful - REALLY GRATEFUL - for all that God has done in our lives.

And beyond that, … we need to surrender to the reality that God created all - and controls all - for HIS glory, not ours. It’s all His!

And if we can do that, … everything will fall back into perspective and we can quit worrying.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … It’s all Yours, Lord … for Your good glory and for my well being as Your child. … Amen

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

Friday, August 11, 2017

August 11, 2017 …”If I’d Only ___”

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 223 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of song and lyrics from Keith and Kristen Getty singing their song … By Faith … poignantly singing of the steadfast faith it takes to follow Christ and share Him with a lost and dying world.


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Highlight Verse[s]: John 11:27 [NLT] … 
27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed You are the Messiah, the Son of God, the One who has come into the world from God.” 
… Martha takes her eye off of herself and her grieve to see Jesus for Whom He really is, … her Messiah.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 11:21-35 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Martha and Mary, grieving the loss of Lazarus, show differing degrees of faith in their Lord and Messiah.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … 
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. 
… But do we really trust Him?    

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Romans 8:28 [NLT] … 
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 
… The Bible says it; so it’s true. But do we have the faith to believe it … and live it?!

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … Hebrews 13:5 [NLT] … 
5 “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” 
… A quote by the Author of Hebrews from Deut. 31:6,8 and Joshua 1:5 clearly stating that we must look in faith beyond our circumstances and believe God will always be there for the believer.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Cindy Hess Kasper used a personal story to teach on faith in the midst of trials. The ODB author wrote: As we exited the parking lot, my husband slowed the car to wait for a young woman riding her bike. When Tom nodded to indicate she could go first, she smiled, waved, and rode on. Moments later, the driver from a parked SUV threw his door open, knocking the young bicyclist to the pavement. Her legs bleeding, she cried as she examined her bent-up bike. 
Later, we reflected on the accident: If only we had made her wait . . . If only the driver had looked before opening his door. If only . . . Difficulties catch us up in a cycle of second-guessing ourselves. If only I had known my child was with teens who were drinking . . . If only we had found the cancer earlier . . . 

Quite often we have trouble seeing the world thru the eyes of faith in Christ because we’re blinded by regrets, … the “IF I”D ONLY”s in our life. … Or we let the dire circumstances in which we find ourselves blind ourselves to the One Who has saved us. This was the case for Martha and Mary, who, in the highlight passage, were both saying to Jesus, ”If ONLY”. They felt that if He had been there, their brother, Lazarus, would not have died. But he did die; and their grief was so great that they had trouble seeing Jesus as the One they believed Him to be … their Messiah. But He was there for them and with them as Messiah; and He showed them that their faith was not in vain.

Perhaps readers here can identify with the “If I’d only” regrets that the OBD author writes about, … the regrets or doubts which hold us back from the faith sung about by the Getty’s in the linked song. But if we believe the reference Scriptures to be true (AND THEY ARE!!), then we need to muster up the faith God gives us and realize that He’ll lever abandon us … AND … all He does or allows is for our good as believers in our Lord as Messiah.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … You’re ALWAYS here watching over 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, August 10, 2017

August 10, 2017 … Is He Smiling?!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 222 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Don Men and a chorus leading in worship and singing … Shine, Jesus, Shine … worshipfully singing of our desire to live for the shining love of Christ.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 80:3, 7, 19 [NLT] … 
3, 7, 19  Make Your face shine down upon us (your people, Lord) … 
… Three times in this song the Psalmist repeats his desire to have God smile on His people. ==============
Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 80 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Asaph, King David’s choir director, writes of his desire that God smile down on His people. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Psalm 116, 2 [NLT] … 
2 Be He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I breath! 
… Knowing that God bends down to hear us, can we imagine that He’s smiling when He does.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT ] : … John 14:21 [NLT] … 
21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” 
… I believe Jesus smiles thru our hearts when we show our love to Him thru our obedience.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT ] : … Luke 9:23 [NLT] … 
23 Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow Me. 
… I believe Jesus smiles thru our hearts when we show our love to Him thru our obedience.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Dave Roper, used a clever poker illustration to write about God’s view of our lives. The ODB author wrote: I remember my father’s face. It was hard to read. He was a kind man, but stoic and self-contained. As a child, I often searched his face, looking for a smile or other show of affection. Faces are us. A frown, a sullen look, a smile, and crinkly eyes reveal what we feel about others. Our faces are our “tell.” 

A “tell” in playing poker, is when a player’s face reveals his hand. And I think many reading here can remember the joy of seeing our father or mother smile, revealing their “hand” (or attitude) when we did something that pleased them. And so, can you imagine doing something that you just KNOW causes our Lord to smile (see photo)”

So, what can we do that makes Jesus smile? I’m sure you can list some things … like praying to Him with a humble/contrite heart [as in the highlight passage], … like being obedient to His commands even when it’s tough to do so [see John 14:21], … and like denying our self and closely following Him (see Luke 9:23).

So, what does that say to us [and certainly to me]? Well, it asks me what I’m going to do today to see my Lord’s “TELL” of a smile?

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … May I live today to make You smile! … Amen

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

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

August 9, 2017 … Giving My All?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 221 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Hillsong United leading in worship and singing … Lord I Offer My Life To You … poignantly singing of our willingness to give our all just as Jesus offered up Himself for us.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Exodus 32:32 [NLT] … 
32 But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, erase my name from the record you have written!” 
… Moses praying to God and willing to give his life for the lives of God’s sinful people. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Exodus 32:31-32 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Moses was willing to give his all to save God’s people.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Romans 9:2-3 [NLT] … 
2 My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief 3 for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. 
… The Apostle Paul willing to give his all for God’s people.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT ] : … Philippians 2:3-5 [NLT] … 
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. … 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 
… The Apostle Paul encouraging God’s people to be willing to be like Christ and give of ourselves as Christ was willing to give His all for all.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Mart DeHaan, used a story of a journalists regrets as he was release from captivity. The ODB author wrote: An Australian journalist who spent 400 days in an Egyptian jail expressed mixed emotions when he was released. While admitting his relief, he said he accepted his freedom with incredible concern for the friends he was leaving behind. He said he found it extremely hard to say goodbye to fellow reporters who had been arrested and jailed with him—not knowing how much longer they were going to be held. 

As I take in the ODB illustration and God’s truth from His word, also above; … and than I take in deeply the linked song for today, sung by Hillsong United, I’m challenged as well as convicted. If I was given the challenge of offering up my life for any others in need, would I? … Certainly that’s a no brainer if you ask me to offer up my life for my wife, or our daughters, or our grandkids; … but would I be willing to do that for another Christian; or even tougher, … as Jesus taught in HIs sermon on the Mount, … would I be willing to offer my life for my enemy?

In the safety of my home, here in this quiet time with God this morning, I would pray that I would be such a Christian, as Paul exhorted in Phil. 2:3-5, … willing, as my Lord did, to offer up my life for others.

But in a pinch, would I? … I hope so!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … You have offered up Your life for mine. Help me to be willing/able to do the same for 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.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

August 8, 2017 … My Way or His?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 220 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of the lyrics as Frank Sinatra sings his signatures song … My Way … which, to me, is the anthem for this generation of entitlement. AND THEN USE THIS LINK with the lyrics to John Waller singing, As For Me And My House, poignantly sining of Joshua’s wish as to his service to His God.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Mark 10:45 [NLT] … 
45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 
… Jesus declared very clearly what He was all about … serving others.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Mark 10:42-52 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus was available to all that would become like Him … serving others.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Joshua 24:15 [NLT] … 15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” 
 … Joshua made his choice. But whom will we choose to serve … self or the Savior …

Reference Passage #2 [NLT ] : … John 13:12-17 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus gives a personal lesson in service by washing the feet of His Disciples.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT ] : … Philippians 2:3-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle Paul exhorted fellow Christians to become like Jesus, humbling Himself to serve others … just as we should do as well.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, used some current facts to illustrate how we’ve become a culture of entitlement, desiring to worship idol rather than choosing to serve our Lord. The ODB author wrote: In today’s celebrity-obsessed culture, it isn’t surprising that entrepreneurs are marketing “celebrities as products . . . allowing them to sell their personal time and attention.” Vauhini Vara’s article in The New Yorker noted that for $15,000, you can have a personal meeting with singer Shakira, while $12,000 will give you and eleven guests lunch with celebrity chef Michael Chiarello at his estate. 

Personally I think few would deny that we, here in the USA, have evolved (or rather, “devolved”) into a culture of entitlement, seeking to serve self first, rather than choosing to become like Jesus and serve others. Frank Sinatra’s signature song, My Way (linked above), could be the anthem for this generation of Americans.

But Jesus calls His disciples (and that includes all Christians) to become like Him, serving others first (see Phil. 2:3-8), … just as He illustrated for His inner twelve by washing their feet (John 13:12-17).

So, are you as convicted as I am today, taking in John Waller’s song and the Scriptures here? Personally, i can do more to serve my Lord; … how about you?”

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Help me to become more like You, Lord, … choosing to serve others more than myself. … Amen

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

Monday, August 07, 2017

August 7, 2017 … Abundant Living

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 219 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Dennis Jernigan and Natalie Grant singing Dennis' song … You Are My All In All … poignantly singing of how a Christian can live the abundant life ... by being willing to and striving toward giving one's all to/for Christ. AND THEN USE THIS LINK  with the lyrics to Big Daddy Weave singing a contemporary version of the old hymn, Trust and Obey, where we hear in song of the only way to live “happy in Jesus,” … i.e., the abundant life He promises.


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Highlight Verse[s]: John 10:10 [NLT] … 
10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. 
… Jesus wants us to have His promise of abundant life.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 10:9-10[NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus clearly states His desire that His followers avoid the pitfalls of Satan and come to Him for His promise of abundant life.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Mark 10:17-31 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… In HIs ministry to others, Jesus clearly points to the reality that attaining eternal, completely abundant, life will cost much ... but it's SO WORTH IT!

Reference Passage #2 [NLT ] : … Matthew 5:3-12 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus lays out the kingdom (and heavenly) blessings which are promised to all who follow Him as surrendered disciples; and to me, it's well worth the cost to obey and follow our Lord.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT ] : … Luke 9:23 [NLT] … 
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' demands of His disciples are costly and tough to follow with the temptations of the world; but when we do ... abundant life is ours (see John 10:10 above).

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Monica Brands, used a personal story to illustrate how we humans try to motivate ourselves to live, in our perception, a more abundant life. The ODB author wrote: When I stopped by to visit my sister’s family, my nephews eagerly showed me their new chore system, a set of Choropoly boards. Each colorful electronic board keeps track of their chores. [See attached photo] 
 A job well done means the kids can hit a green button, which adds points to their “spending” account. A misdeed like leaving the back door open results in a fine being deducted from the total. Since a high-points total leads to exciting rewards such as computer time—and misdeeds deduct from that total—my nephews are now unusually motivated to do their work and to keep the door closed! 

As a parent, and now a grandparent, we always found that constructive parental “bribery” goes a long way to motivating our kiddos to follow our commands. And quite often we'd find that they would do so much for their reward, … even though it was tough for them to follow thru with what they knew we demanded of them.

But also quite often, the promised rewards from us, their earthly parents, were not enough to overcome the temptations offered by the world to young ones, ... rewards which can seem to be oh, so appealing to the flesh. And Jesus encountered that with the rich young man (in Mark 10), who couldn't overcome Jesus' demands of His disciples to surrender all to Him. The cost of discipleship to this young man was just too much; and he was unable to follow Jesus.

What Jesus promises often is very, very costly; but if we truly believe Him, the outcome is WAY WORTH IT, isn't it?! It's that faith thing that is the hang up. The eternal "bribe" (really God’s "reward") is really incredible; but we've got to be able to overcome our own flesh and natural selfishness to take up our cross daily and follow our Heavenly parent and Lord (see Luke 9:23).  The question is ... WILL WE?!  

In other words, ... is, as the first song relates above, Jesus our all in all?  Do we really seek His promised abundant life (John 10:10) by doing what Big Daddy Weave sings … by trusting and obeying all that He models and all that He commands of us as His disciples?

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … I pray that all who read here are following our Lord and experiencing at least some of the “abundant life” He promises. … Amen

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

Saturday, August 05, 2017

August 6, 2017 … Reflecting His Light

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 218 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Joy Williams singing her song … Do They See Jesus In Me … poignantly singing of how a Christian can reflect the light of Christ into the world for others to see Him in the way we live.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Exodus 34:29 [NLT] … 
29 When Moses came down Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant because he had spoken to the Lord. 
… How much do we radiate God’s glory in what we think, say, and do?
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Highlight Passage [context]: Exodus 34:29-35 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… When Moses spent time alone with God on the mountain, he radiated the glory of God to others. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … 2nd Corinthians 3:7-11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul points to how much more we, infused with the New Covenant in Christ’s power, should radiate God’s glory in our lives than did Moses with the Old Covenant’s power.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … 2nd Corinthians 5:17 [NLT] … 
17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 
 … The newness of Christ should radiate outward in the way we live our lives as born-again, transformed Christians.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Matthew 5:14-16 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus expects those who’re born-again to shine His light into this very dark world.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Xochiti Dixon, used a very personal story to illustrate how her mother radiated God’s love and Spirit, even in the face of cancer and impending death. The ODB author wrote: I had the privilege of serving as my mom’s caregiver during her treatments at a live-in cancer care center. Even on her hardest days, she read Scripture and prayed for others before getting out of bed. She spent time with Jesus daily, expressing her faith through her dependence on God, her kind deeds, and her desire to encourage and pray for others. Never realizing how much her smiling face glowed with the Lord’s loving grace, she shared God’s love with the people around her until the day He called her home to heaven. 

Self exam time; … and I’m asking myself, … just how much do I radiate God’s love and grace, as did the mother of the ODB author? … Do others see the glow of Christ radiating from my life? … I think not as much as I’d like … and probably not as much as He’d like!

The linked song today certainly reflects that self examination; and I think we all should do that inventory today, don’t you?

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … I pray that I will shine more of Your light or image for others to see You lighting our way 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.

August 5, 2017 … Grace Given Forward

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 217 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics the group Unspoken singing their song … Call It Grace … poignantly singing of God’s grace which pours into the life of a surrendered/receptive Christian saving and sanctifying us for God’s glory.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Colossians 4:6 [NLT] … 
6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. 
… Paul, on being an agent of God’s grace in the way relate to others.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Colossians 4:2-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, instructs Christians on passing His grace on in the way we speak and share our lives with others.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … 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. 
… We shouldn’t say anything unless it provides grace to the hearer.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Philippians 2:3-4 [NLT] … 
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 
 … And that’s God’s grace being shared with others.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 1st Peter 3:15 [NLT] … 
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, … 
… As Christians we’re always to be ready to share Christ with others … but ALWAYS with grace.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, used a Christians sports figure to illustrate how we, as disciples of Christ, must be agents of grace to others. The ODB author wrote: The US Masters Golf Tournament began in 1934, and since then only three players have won it two years in a row. On April 10, 2016, it appeared that twenty-two-year-old Jordan Spieth would become the fourth. But he faltered on the last nine holes and finished in a tie for second. Despite his disappointing loss, Spieth was gracious toward tournament champion Danny Willett, congratulating him on his victory and on the birth of his first child, something “more important than golf.” 
Writing in The New York Times, Karen Krouse said, “It takes grace to see the big picture so soon after having to sit through a trophy ceremony and watch someone else have his photograph taken.” Krouse continued, “Spieth’s ball-striking was off all week, but his character emerged unscathed.” 

I’m a rabid golf fan. And I revel in following the exploits of Jordan Spieth, a very young champion, who is an unashamed and outspoken Christian. And I was watching on TV that day when the awards ceremony for the most prestigious of all golf tournaments took place. And though having been greatly disappointment by his loss to Danny Willett that day, Spieth’s grace in defeat shouted out God’s grace loudly that day in the so-called “Green Jacket” victory ceremony. Jordan graciously presented the victory jacket to the winner of that year’s Master’s winner [see attached photo], humbly congratulating his opponent. It was a magnificent display of Godly grace.

God’s word (see Scripture above) is clear on what we are to do, as Christians, with regard to our speech and actions in this graceless and darkened world. We, as disciples of Christ, are to speak and act like Jesus did to His enemies and detractors in His day … with grace.

So, … let’s all go forth as open/obvious agents of God’s grace as we interact with others today.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Help me to speak forth and give out Your grace to any/all I encounter today, … tomorrow, … and always. … Amen

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

Thursday, August 03, 2017

August 4, 2017 … Tested for Glory

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 216 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics the group Mercy Me singing their song … Even If … poignantly singing of reality of the trials of God when God seems so far away … that the fires of life produce the purity of our character.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 66:10 [NLT] … 1
0 you have tested us, O God; … You have purified us like silver. 
… The key to God’s peace is trustfully focusing on our relationship with our Lord. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 66:8-12 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist sings of God testing His beloved to bring them the abundant life.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Job 23:10 [NLT] … 
10 But He (the Lord) knows where I am going; and when He tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
… With all that Job went thru, He still maintained faith in His Lord to purify him thru the testing.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … John 16:33 [NLT] … 
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” 
… Jesus actually promises His Disciples that they (we) will have many trials in this world; but He also promises that He has overcome the world.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … James 1:12 [NLT] … 
12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 
… Jesus’ brother, James, also exhorted persecuted Christians to see the trial of life as a test which will produce the crown of royalty.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, James Banks, used an apt word picture about this life which accurately pictures the way many of us feel a lot of the time. The ODB author wrote: My training for the long-distance race was going badly [see photo], and the latest run was particularly disappointing. I walked half the time and even had to sit down at one point. It felt like I had failed a mini-test. 
Then I remembered that this was the whole point of training. It was not a test to pass, nor was there a grade I had to achieve. Rather, it was something I simply had to go through, again and again, to improve my endurance. 
Perhaps you feel bad about a trial you are facing. God allows us to undergo these times of testing to toughen our spiritual muscles and endurance. He teaches us to rely on Him, and purifies us to be holy, so that we become more like Christ. 

If you’ve taken in the linked song and the word picture painted by the OBD author above, as well as the truths of the Scriptures, there’s really not much need for me to comment further, is there? This message is clear; isn’t it?

And what we need to do is to relish in the reality that our God has overcome the fires of this life; and EVEN IF (as the song sings) we are thrown into the cauldron of life as Christians, all the flames will do is purify us for glory.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … I find joy in my trials, knowing that they are to prepare me for my eternity with 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.

August 3, 2017 … Stillness and Peace

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 215 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics Steven Curtis Chapman singing his song … Be Still and Know … poignantly singing of how we capture the peace of God


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Highlight Verse[s]: Isaiah 26:3 [NLT] … 
3 You (Lord) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, … all whose thoughts are fixed on You! … The key to God’s peace is trustfully focusing on our relationship with our Lord.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Isaiah 26:1-9 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet assures God’s people, threatened by invasion, that they will be covered by God’s peace as long as they be still and focus on their faith in Him.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Matthew 11:28 [NLT] … 
Then Jesus said (to His anxious followers), “Come to Me, all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. … 
… Jesus offers His help to carry our worries; but are we willing to receive His help?

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … John 14:27 [NLT] … 
27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. 
… But do we really believe our Lord … and then live as if it is true?

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Philippians 4:6-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, offers us His prescription for anxiety … but do we take it and use it when we’re worried?

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, James Banks, used an apt word picture about this life which accurately pictures the way many of us feel a lot of the time. The ODB author wrote: When I was six years old I rode a roller coaster for the first time with my older brothers. As soon as we hit a turn at a high speed [see photo] I started to yell: “Stop this thing right now! I want to get off!” Of course the roller coaster didn’t stop, and I had to “white knuckle” it, hanging on tight for the rest of the ride. 
Sometimes life can feel like an unwanted roller coaster ride, with “downhill” drops and hairpin curves we never see coming. When unexpected difficulties occur, the Bible reminds us that our best recourse is to place our trust in God. 

Ever been on that rollercoaster in life? I have; and the unwanted thrill rides in life can so often take our focus off of our relationship with God and the promises He offers of His peace. I really don’t need to write much to clarify what God says above in His word, offering His disciples His peace when, as Steven Curtis Chapman sings, “we be still and know (i.e., trust) that He is God.” Because as the Prophet Isaiah taught God’s people, we can have His peace when we focus on Him in faith rather than dwelling in our fears.

Our choice, isn’t it? … Personally, that’s why I’m here everyday, getting closer and more focused on my Lord and His promises so that when I’m thrown onto the rollercoaster of life I’ll be able to ride it with joy rather than the terror of my own anxiety.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … build my trust and the peace I find thru Your word when I encounter the rollercoaster rides 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.