Tuesday, May 23, 2017

May 23, 2017 … Combatting Angst and Anger

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 143 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Alan Jackson singing the old hymn … Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus … poignantly singing of the best strategy we have as Christians to deal with the angst, anger, and grief of this world.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Luke 9:54-55 [NKJV] … 
54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” 55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.” 
… God never wants His disciples to use anger to dispel the anger of others.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Luke 9:51-56 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus show His disciples that trying to using anger to combat the anger of others will never solve anything.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Proverbs 15:1 [NKJV] … 
1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up [more] anger. 
… God’s advice, thru Solomon, on dealing with the verbal wrath of others towards us.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … John 13:34-35 [NKJV] … 
34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” 
… Is it Jesus’ command to return harsh words with more wrath. … HARDLY!!

Reference Passage #3 [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. 
… God never wants us to use angry words to respond to the anger of others.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Tim Gustafson, told a personal story to illustrate how anger so often provokes more anger. The ODB author wrote: The anti-God bumper stickers covering the car seized the attention of a university professor. As a former atheist himself, the professor thought perhaps the owner wanted to make believers angry. “The anger helps the atheist to justify his atheism,” he explained. Then he warned, “All too often, the atheist gets exactly what he is looking for.” 
In recalling his own journey to faith, this professor noted the concern of a Christian friend who invited him to consider the truth of Christ. His friend’s “sense of urgency was conveyed without a trace of anger.” He never forgot the genuine respect and grace he received that day.  

Ever been in a situation like the one in the attached photo, … with someone spouting angry words at you, maybe attacking your faith as in the ODB entry above? What’s the best way to respond? … With more anger? How do you think Jesus would respond in a such a situation?

Well, the highlight and reference passages above answer that dilemma pretty clearly, don’t they? And if we’re trying to defend our faith with an angry atheist, will getting angry back and spouting Scripture loudly at him or her help to dissuade their disbelief? Hardly!! … Solomon, Paul, and more importantly, Jesus, said that we should return anger with love. And as Tim Gustafson stated in this ODB entry today, … “The best way to defend Jesus is to live like Him.”

So, if we run into someone spouting off at us with anger, especially if they are attacking our faith, how will we handle that one today? … I pray, … as would Jesus, … with love.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Help me to live up to Ephesians 4:29 today with my tongue. … 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, May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017 … In The Blink of An Eye

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 142 

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 … He’s Everything To Me … poignantly singing of how our God, no matter how many different ways He describes Himself in God’s word, is truly EVERYTHING to me.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Deuteronomy 32:10 [NKJV] … 
10 … He (God) kept them (His people) as the apple of his eye. 
… God is pictured as the eyelid, which protects the pupil of the eye.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Deuteronomy 32:1-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God has promised to protect His remnant of believers as the “Apple of His eye” (Hebrew for “pupil” of the eye)
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Isaiah 42:14 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God compares Himself to a mother in labor.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Luke 6:46-49 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus compares Himself to the rock on which believers would build their home.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … John 10:1 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus compares Himself to the door where the sheep are kept.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Peterson, told of how a friend help her see different metaphors and word pictures in God’s word to describe how He watches over His people. The ODB author wrote: “God is like an eyelid,” [see photo] my friend Ryley said, and I blinked in surprise. What could she mean by that? 
“Tell me more,” I replied. … Ryley pointed me to Deuteronomy 32, where Moses praises the way God takes care of His people. Verse 10 says that God shields and protects His people, guarding them “as the apple of his eye.” But the word we translate apple, Ryley told me, literally means pupil. And what encircles and guards the pupil? … The eyelid, of course! God is like the eyelid, which instinctively protects the tender eye. 

Actually, any student of God’s word knows that God uses quite a few metaphors to picture various aspects of His character and the way He watches over His covenant people. A few of them can be found in the Scriptures linked above.

Our God does protect us like the eyelid protects the eye [in the highlight passage]. He is also the ROCK on which we build our lives [in Luke 6]. AND He is the door to Heaven [in John 10].

But the bottom-line reality which God is trying to convey to us with all the comparative word pictures is that He, as Avalon sings in the linked song, is our EVERYTHING!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Yes Lord, You are my everything! … 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, May 21, 2017

May 21, 2017 … Clearly Seeing God

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 141 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Steve Green singing … God and God Alone … powerfully singing of the true picture of the One True God. He truly is our LORD and Savior, … our Heavenly Father, … and His Spirit living in our hearts forever.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Exodus 34:6-7 [NLT} … 
12 The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, … “Yahweh! The Lord!! … The God of compassion and mercy; … I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness … 7 … But I do not excuse the guilty. … 
… God declares Who He really is to His people on the mountain as He gives a new copy of His covenant to His people.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Exodus 34:1-9 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God makes Himself known to His chosen people clearly … and REALLY! .
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Numbers 14:17-18 [NLT] … 
17 “Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed. For you said, 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. … 
… Moses intercedes for God’s people, … praying that they really see Him for Whom He is.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … 1st Corinthians 13:12-13 [NLT] … 
12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 
… Paul teaches that we have a tendency to see God incompletely, thru our human perception; but thru God’s clear word we can see our God for Whom He really is.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 2 Timothy 3:16-17 [NLT] … 
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 
… Clearly God’s word is the best way to see God clearly and to know His purposes for our lives.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Julie Ackerman Link, used a word picture of caricatures to teach on our need to see God for Whom He really is. The ODB author wrote: Caricature artists set up their easels in public places and draw pictures of people who are willing to pay a modest price for a humorous image of themselves. Their drawings amuse us because they exaggerate one or more of our physical features in a way that is recognizable but funny. Caricatures of God, on the other hand, are not funny [see photo]. Exaggerating one of His attributes presents a distorted view that people easily dismiss. Like a caricature, a distorted view of God is not taken seriously. 

So often, in today’s word, false teachers, and even some calling themselves “christian,” and most certainly Satan’s world, paint a false picture of the ONE TRUE GOD, … the One Who is so clearly described and clarified for God’s people in His word [see 2Tim. 3:16-17].

So, make no mistake, the reason why you find me coming here daily, praying, digging into God’s truth, and journaling to share my insights with others, is so that I can know the Lord I praise and serve Him more effectively … one day at a time.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, help me to see and know You more clearly today than yesterday … more clearly tomorrow than 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, May 20, 2017

May 20, 2017 … The Right Road

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 140 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from three friends, Clay Crosse, Bebe Winans, and Bob Carlisle, singing … I Will Follow Christ … powerfully singing that our way, as Christians, is the way of Christ.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1st Corinthians 10:12-13 [NLT} … 
12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 
… Unfortunately, we now live in an era who have missed out on these truths.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st Corinthians 10:1-13 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul warns about God’s people taking the wrong road, but shows that God is faithful to show the right way.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Genesis 39:6-12 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Joseph was tempted to take the wrong road, but God gave him the strength to take the right road.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Proverbs 4:14-15 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God commands us to avoid the road the wicked take … to turn away and take the right road.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 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. …” 
… Following Jesus is ALWAYS the right road in life.

Reference Passage #4 [NKJV] : … 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. 
… When choosing the right road is hard, we know that God’s grace will help us follow Him.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, James Banks, uses a real reference to a road in CA, used to illustrate our choices in life as Christians. The ODB author wrote: There’s a street with an intriguing name in the city of Santa Barbara, California. It’s called “Salsipuedes,” which means “leave if you can.” When the street was first named, the area bordered on a marsh that sometimes flooded, and the Spanish-speaking city planners dubbed the location with a not-so-subtle warning to stay away.  

I think all readers here would agree that many times in life we, as Christians, face perplexing decisions as to which route to take in life [see photo]; and Satan and the world will tempt us to take the WRONG way. But prayerfully we realize; even when we’re tempted, as was Joseph to take the WRONG road, we, as he was, are commanded to take the RIGHT road (see Gen. 39 passage).

And the linked song today helps us, as followers of Christ, to realize that God is always faithful, no matter what temptation we face, to help us follow Him (see Luke 9:23). Because God never puts us on a road where we can’t take the RIGHT way (HIS WAY - see 1Cor. 10:13). And even when we feel weak, God’s grace is always sufficient to give us the strength to take the RIGHT way (see 2Cor. 12:9).

So, … if any reading here are facing a tough choice today, especially one involving temptation, know that following God’s way is ALWAYS the right way.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, I will follow You today … no matter what! … 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, May 19, 2017

May 19, 2017 … Train Up A Child

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 139 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing their song… I Want To Be Just Like You … poignantly singing of what is seriously missing in our current times, … i.e., a generation who has been raised up in the ways of Christ.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 78:4 [NLT} … 
4 We will not hide these truths from our children; … we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about the power of His mighty wonders. 
… Unfortunately, we now live in an era who have missed out on these truths.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 78:1-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist lays out from God what is sorely missing in today’s world … a generation which has been raised up in the ways of the Lord.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Deuteronomy 6: 4-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God has instructed His people in the ways we should go and how we must teach our children that way.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Proverbs 22:6 [NLT] … 
6 Direct your children onto the right path and when they are older, they will not leave it. 
… Any time, anywhere, anybody can be cleansed of our sin.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Philippians 2:3-4 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The qualities of Christlikeness seriously missing in the current generation of children (and adults).

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David McCasland, quotes instructions on parenting to illustrate what has come to be missing in today’s world. The ODB author wrote: A phrase on many parenting websites says, “Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.” Instead of trying to remove all obstacles and pave the way for the children in our life, we should instead equip them to deal with the difficulties they encounter on the road ahead.  

When one reads the instructions of God’s word on parenting our children found in the Scriptures from the Old Testament [see above], and we look around at today’s generation, we can’t help but think, “What’s wrong with this picture,” … can we? We’re living in a post-christian era where too many children are being raised without fathers, … and too many have been enabled rather than enriched, … producing what I call a generation of entitlement!

Too many of our young don’t know the ways of God taught in the Scriptures above because they’ve missed out on what Phillips, Craig, and Dean sing about in the linked song today. And the result has become a generation of “WHY ME” and “GIMME” kids, … children who are incapable of living as Paul exhorted in Phil. 2:3-4 [i.e., like Christ]; … because these are kids who’ve only seen and learned how to be selfish in their sinful nature. And unless and until we parents/grandparents raise up a generation who knows the ways of Christlikeness, we are going to have to reap what we’ve sown in this world.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, I pray that Christian parents raise their kids to be like Christ. … 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, May 18, 2017

May 18, 2017 … Wearing His Robes

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 138 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from anonymous praise group singing the old hymn… Nothing But the Blood of Jesus l … poignantly singing of reality of the cleansing of the blood of Jesus for any/all who receive His saving grace.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Zechariah 3:3-4 [NLT} … 
3 Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. 4 So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.” 
… The glorious picture of God giving His royal priesthood (i.e,. repentant believers) new clothes to replace their tattered/dirty rags of sin.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Zechariah, Chapter 3 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Zechariah prophesies a picture of the reclothing repentant believers receive when they come to God and receive His robes of righteousness to cover our rags of sin.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … 1st John 1:9 [NLT] … 
9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 
… Any time, anywhere, anybody can be cleansed of our sin.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Revelation 19:7-9 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… All who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb (i.e., born-again believers) will be clothed in His fine garments of righteousness.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, created a personal word picture of what happens when we, sinners, come to Jesus and are reclothed in His Robes of Righteousness to cover our rags of sin. The ODB author wrote: When my kids were toddlers, they would play outside in our sodden English garden and quickly become covered in mud and dirt. For their good and the good of my floor, I’d remove their clothes at the door and wrap them in towels before sticking them in the bath. They’d soon move from dirty to clean with the addition of soap, water, and hugs.  

The ODB author paints a personal word picture of what it’s like when when sinners, dirty with our sins, come to the Lord, with repentant hearts, and acknowledge, in faith, His Lordship. And when we do, like the picture in the highlight passage above, we are covered by the Lord’s Robes of Righteousness (see photo), covering our rags of sin; and we become, as did the Priest in Zechariah 3:3-4, readied to come to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (see Rev. 19:7-9).

Yes, as born-again in Christ, we now wear the Lord’s robes, covered by His vestments of righteousness, … cleansed by His blood, … and ready to attend that Wedding Feast when the Lamb of God comes to be with His bride forever. And the beauty is that anytime, anywhere, ANYBODY can wear His robes, if/when we come to Him in faith and confess our dirtiness [see 1John 1:9], receiving His robes to wear which hide our rags of sin. …

So, come with me and receive His robes here today [again, see photo].

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, I pray that I’m cleansed and covered by Your robes so that others see You in me … 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.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 17, 2017 … Inspirational Faith

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 137 

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 … poignantly singing of the faithfulness of Christians, many of whom died for their faith, can inspire others to see the One True God.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Daniel 6:26-27 [NLT} … USE THIS LINK
… Because of Daniel’s faith in the lion’s den, King Darius, came to see and believe the power of the one true God.
============== Highlight Passage [context]: Daniel 6:19-28 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Daniel’s faithful stand inspired the Persian King, Darius, to believe in God.
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Reference Passage #1 [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.” 
… Satan’s world will come against Christians; but we must believe that Christ has overcome the world.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Ephesians 6:10-13 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul exhorts fellow Christians to stand in faith against the wiles of our spiritual enemies.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Hebrews 11:1-2 [NLT] … 
1 Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. 
… Real faith - on display - shows the power of God to overcome the world.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, observed an historical display which helped her illustrate the faithfulness of Daniel as an example of standing for God in the face of life-threatening danger. The ODB author wrote: When I visited a museum in Chicago, I saw one of the original Striding Lions of Babylon [see attached photo]. It was a large mural-type image of a winged lion with a ferocious expression. Symbolizing Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of love and war, the lion was an example of 120 similar lions that would have lined a Babylonian pathway during the years of 604–562 bc. 
Historians say that after the Babylonians defeated Jerusalem, the Hebrew captives would have seen these lions during their time in Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. Historians also say it’s likely that some of the Israelites would have believed Ishtar had defeated the God of Israel.   

I'm confident that my Christian readers are familiar with the highlight passage [i.e., from Daniel 6], describing Daniel's courage and faithfulness to God in the face of being thrown in the lion's den because he would not bow before idols and renounce His God. And because of his strong faith, God not only saved this man of faith from the lions; but his faith influenced King Darius to believe in the one, true God.

In today's world, the oppression of Christians is on the rise, ... even with many being martyred by descendants of those who oppressed Daniel. And even here in the USA, the so-called “land of the free,” those who are faithful to Christ are experiencing threats to our religious rights of expression. In essence, we are being threatened by a type of "lion's den," aren't we?

SO, ... what are we to do? Do we have the faith sung about by Steve Green in today's linked song? Will we be able to stand faithfully in the battles of faith which lie ahead? I certainly pray that we will confidently face any “lion's den” in our day and show the world that our God is THE ONLY GOD!!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Bolster my faith to be able to stand for Your Name when I am challenged by Satan's world … Amen

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

May 16, 2017 … A Real-Deal Friend

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 136 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Alan Jackson singing the old hymn … What A Friend In Jesus … poignantly singing of the friendship we have with the Lord God of the universe, … our King Jesus.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Genesis 14:18-19 … [NLT] … 
18 And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High,[a] brought Abram some bread and wine. 19 Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. … “ 
… Melchizedek’s blessing of friendship.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Genesis 14:17-24 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Melchizedek, King & Priest, blesses Abraham upon return from battle, with a benediction of friendship.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Job 2:11-13 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Before they opened their mouths to confuse Job, his three “friends” were real friends to this desperate man of God.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … John 15:13-15 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus in the Upper Room tells His Disciples what true friendship is all about.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 2nd Thessalonians 2:16-17 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul’s real friendship with fellow Christians, expressed in this benediction to his “church” friends in Asia Minor.

Reference Passage #4 [NKJV] : … Revelation 3:20 [NLT] … 
20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 
… Everyday, Jesus, our FRIEND, wants to come in and fellowship with us; and He is asking us to open the doors of our hearts to Him. … But, … will we?

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David Roper, quoted a poet to teach on the essence of real-deal friendship. The ODB author wrote: Poet Samuel Foss wrote, “Let me live by the side of the road and be a friend to man” (“The House by the Side of the Road”). That’s what I want to be—a friend of people. I want to stand by the way, waiting for weary travelers. To look for those who have been battered and wronged by others, who carry the burden of a wounded and disillusioned heart. To nourish and refresh them with an encouraging word and send them on their way. I may not be able to “fix” them or their problems, but I can leave them with a blessing. 

Do you have a real-deal FRIEND, … one who would not only die for you, but one who will live for you (see John 15:13-15) … just as Jesus did for sinners and now continues to be our Friend and advocate in Heaven? Yeah, … Alan Jackson certainly sings about it in the linked song today, doesn’t he? … ”What a friend we have in Jesus!!”

And the essence of friendship was illustrated by by the King/Priest, Melchizedek, to Abraham in his benediction for his friend [see highlight passage], … as were the actions of Job’s friends when he lost everything and was in pain (see the Job 2 passage). And as was the Apostle Paul to so many of his fellow Christians, expressed by his willingness to risk death to bring them the Savior and to pray for them daily (see 2Thess. 2 benediction above). And finally, as is Jesus, who everyday, knocks on the door of our hears and wants to come in and be our friend (see Rev. 3:20).

The “FAITHBOOK” question, from the photo, play on the modern-day social media example, is ... will we confirm Jesus’ friendship and let Him into our hearts today?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Let me be a friend to someone today like You, dear Lord, are a Friend to/for 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.

Monday, May 15, 2017

May 15, 2017 … His Word Is Forever

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 135 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from the Maranatha Singers singing … Thy Word … poignantly singing of the reality that God has provided His eternal and powerful WORD to guide us thru this life.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Isaiah 40:8 … [NLT] … 
8 The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the world of our God stands forever. 
… The seeds planted in good soil, well nourished, will thrive, grow, and produce good fruit. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Isaiah 40:1-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God thru Isaiah assured His people that they would be reprieved for their sins when they came to follow His word, which endures forever.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Psalm 119:105 [NLT] … 
105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. 
… God’s truth (i.e., His word) never loses power for what He purposes through it.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Isaiah 55:11 [NLT] … 
11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. 
… God’s truth (i.e., His word) never loses power for what He purposes through it.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, relates the reality of the eternal purpose and power found in God’s word.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Xochitl Dixon, told a personal story to illustrate how everything in this life will wither and fade except the purpose and power of God’s Word. The ODB author wrote: As a toddler, my son Xavier enjoyed giving me flowers. I appreciated every freshly picked weed or store-bought blossom he purchased with his dad. I treasured each gift until it wilted and had to be thrown away. 
One day, Xavier gave me a beautiful bouquet of artificial flowers. He grinned as he arranged the silk white calla lily, yellow sunflower, and purple hydrangea in a glass vase. “Look, Mommy,” he said. “They’ll last forever. That’s how much I love you.” 

No, … not even those artificial flowers will last forever; but there’s one thing we Christians can rely upon which has eternal purpose and power; … and you probably know it … GOD’S WORD. And that’s what God, through Isaiah, was relating to His people in Isaiah 40:8 and 55:11. And it’s what Paul was telling Timothy (and all Christians) in 2Timothy 3:16-17.

Dear ones, God’s word is everything the Psalmist wrote about in Psalm 119 (if you have about 30 minutes to honor God, take the time to read/meditate in this powerful song). Think about it! The Bible is Creator God speaking directly to any/all who truly are surrendered to Him and desire to let Him lead us thru life (see Psalm 119:105).

So, … it’s really no mystery why I somewhat compulsively come here everyday to dwell in God’s word and seek out His truth for my life. How often and how much time do you devote to taking in God’s truth? … I pray you do DAILY. Because if you do, God, the Father, will transform you into the image of His Son, thru the power of His Spirit.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear Lord, … I’m fed and sustained by the Bread of Life and Your living waters found in 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.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

May 14, 2017 … Seeds Well Nourished

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 134 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing … He’ll Do Whatever It Takes … poignantly singing of the reality that God will do whatever it takes to water and nourish the seeds of glory planted in one whom He knows is His forever.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 13:23 … [NLT] … 
23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” 
… The seeds planted in good soil, well nourished, will thrive, grow, and produce good fruit. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 13:1-23 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus relates the parable of the farmer scattering seeds, with some dying and some flourishing into full grown plants.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … John :15:5-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus relates how only those who remain attached to Him will become fruitful.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … 1Corinthians 3:4-9 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul relates how the work of Christians planting seeds of faith and others watering those seeds will ultimately produce fruitful plants for God’s glory.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David McCasland, told a personal story about how we, as Christians, plant God’s seeds and they ultimately grow and thrive for His glory. The ODB author wrote: I received a wonderful email from a woman who wrote, “Your mom was my first-grade teacher at Putnam City in 1958. She was a great teacher and very kind, but strict! She made us learn the 23rd Psalm and say it in front of the class, and I was horrified. But it was the only contact I had with the Bible until 1997 when I became a Christian. And the memories of Mrs. McCasland came flooding back as I re-read it.” 

Perhaps others reading here have a story like that one related in the ODB entry today, where you grew and flourished for God’s glory because of the seeds of God’s love planted in your heart when you were young. Or perhaps, like me, the seeds of salvation were planted in you as Jesus described in His parable of the seeds being planted in your youth [see highlight passaged] but only growing and becoming fruitful much later in life when there was someone God used to nourish the seeds and transplant them in good soil.

I don’t know how the seeds of faith were planted in your heart; but even if they were planted and it took years for them to grow and be fruitful, I hope you know that it was God’s persistent love and mercy and grace to nourish you into fruitfulness. And, as today’s linked song relates, God will do whatever it takes to bring you to a place where you can grow and thrive for His glory.

But you (we) must be willing to receive the watering and nourishment of His grace, staying connected to Him as the Vine (see John 15:5-8), for us to become fruitful, … so that we might plant His seeds of salvation in the hearts of others one day in the future.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear Lord, … Thank You for raising me from seedling to fruitfulness 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, May 13, 2017

May 13, 2017 … Glimpses Of His Glory

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 133 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from a praise chorus singing … How Majestic Is Your Name … poignantly singing of majesty and glory of what God has created for us; … and THEN ON TO THIS LINK with blind singer, Gordon Mote, singing Don’t Let Me Miss the Glory, … charging us in song not to miss the glory of God all around us.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 8: 1 … [NLT] … 
1 O Lord, Our Lord, Your majestic name fills the earth; Your glory is higher than the heavens. 
… And that same Spirit promised to Jesus’ Disciples now is present right here with me today! 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 8:1-9 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… King David wrote this wonderful song reminding us all to look around us and see the glory of God in His creation.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Psalm 19:1 [NLT] … 
1  The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. 
… All of creation declares the glory of God. So, … LOOK AROUND and see His glory.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Matthew 6:28-29 [NLT] … 
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. ... "
… Jesus teaches about looking around to see God’s glory clothed in the beauty of the lilies of the field.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Alyson Kieda, made a personal observation to illustrate how God has displayed His glory throughout His creation. The ODB author wrote: When my husband and I go for nature walks, we bring our cameras and take close-ups of the plants at our feet, which are like microcosms of the world. What amazing variety and beauty we see, even in the fungi that spring up overnight and dot the woods with splashes of bright orange, red, and yellow! 

And like the ODB author, sometimes I take note of the simple, but glorious, beauty around me, … like the dainty miniature rose bushes on our patio [see photo], which blossom in the springtime and thru the summer, showing off God’’s glory to my wife and myself. And it reminds me of the old saying, … “Take time to smell the roses,” which is essentially what Jesus was saying to His followers on that hillside in His famous Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 6:28-29).

And it’s what King David wrote in Psalm 8, reminding us all to look around us and appreciate the majesty of God’s glory, painted across the skies and woven in the delicate beauty of a one of those miniature roses in the photo.

And PLEASE, PLEASE take in and meditate on the two linked songs above, … especially one of my favorites with Gordon Mote singing for us not to miss God’s glory all around us. The video of this blind artist singing the song He wrote is truly inspiring.

Yes, and maybe today, we will appreciate God’s majesty in the stars or even stop and take in His glory in the beauty of a simple rose, … all of which He created just for us.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear Lord, … Your majesty abounds all around me; so, don’t let me miss 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.

Friday, May 12, 2017

May 12, 2017 … God’s Spirit Presence

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 132 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of Francesca Battiselli singing her song … Holy Spirit … poignantly singing of the presence and power of the same Spirit Who raised Jesus from the dead and now lives in the hearts of all truly born-again Christians.


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Highlight Verse[s]: John 16:13 … [NLT] … 
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 
… And that same Spirit promised to Jesus’ Disciples now is present right here with me today! 
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 16:7-15 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus promises the coming presence and power of the Holy Spirit to His anxious Disciples the night before His crucifixion, the same Spirit Who resides now in the hearts of all born-again believers.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Deuteronomy 31:6-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The very same Spirit Who promised to go ahead of Moses and His people is the very same Spirit Who will go ahead of me today.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Psalm 116:1-2 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s Spirit will bend down to hear my (and your) prayers today.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Acts 1:8 [NLT] … 
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 
… Jesus promised ALL believers that His Spirit will be imparted into our hearts (and my heart today) to give us (me) the power to be His witnesses in this world; and that He would always be with me.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, told of a personal incident which reminded her of the constant presence/power of God’s Spirit in her life. The ODB author wrote: As I boarded the airplane to study in a city a thousand miles from home, I felt nervous and alone. But during the flight, I remembered how Jesus promised His disciples the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit. 

My fellow Christian, reading with me here today, as I read that little vignette from the ODB this morning, I was reminded, as I often am, that when I came to this quiet place to pray and to meditate on God’s word, the very same Holy Spirit Who was promised to the 11 remaining Disciples the night before Jesus going to the cross (see highlight passage), is the Spirt who bent down to hear my prayers today (see Psalm 116:1-2); … and He’s the very same Spirit who promised Moses that He would NEVER forsake His people and would go ahead of them into the Promised Land, just as He will go ahead of me today (see Deut. 31:6-8).

And my friend, He’s the very same Spirit Whom Jesus has imparted into my (and your) heart so that we can be His witness in/to the world today. So, right now, I don’t know about you; but I’m feeling the very presence of God’s Spirit just as Francesca Battiselli sings in the linked song above. And PLEASE take the time to hear the song in your quiet time with God today! And then, let’s go with God’s Spirit and witness God’s love and grace to a world who needs Him desperately.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear Lord, … Your Spirit goes ahead with me today!! … HALLELUJAH!! … 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, May 11, 2017

May 11, 2017 … Choose Joy Anyway!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 131 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of Sara Groves singing her song … Joy Is In Our Hearts … poignantly singing of the hope and joy we have in our relationship with Christ, Who is our joy and strength.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Philippians 1:23-24 … [NLT] … 
23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. 24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. 
… Paul decides that living for Christ was better than dying in Him.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Philippians 1:21-26 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul realized that living for others was his calling, even tho dying for Christ seemed wonderful. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Habakkuk 3:17-18 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet sings of what he learned from God - that we can hold onto joy no matter what comes our way.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … James 1:2 [NLT] … 
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy 
… Jesus’ brother realizes and teaches that we can find joy in the midst of any trial.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 1st Peter 4:12-13 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Peter, in his painful trials late in life, wrote of why suffering for Christ should bring us closer to Him and therefore bring Joy.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Dave Branon, wrote of the inspiration of a woman who held on to her joy despite severe handicap. The ODB author wrote: An elderly woman named Violet sat on her bed in a Jamaican infirmary and smiled as some teenagers stopped to visit with her. The hot, sticky, midday air came into her little group home unabated, but she didn’t complain. Instead, she began wracking her mind for a song to sing. Then a huge smile appeared and she sang, “I am running, skipping, jumping, praising the Lord!” As she sang, she swung her arms back and forth as if she were running. Tears came to those around her, for Violet had no legs. She was singing because, she said, “Jesus loves me—and in heaven I will have legs to run with.” Violet’s joy and hopeful anticipation of heaven give new vibrancy to Paul’s words in Philippians 1 when he referred to life-and-death issues [see highlight passage above]. 

And when I think of someone holding on to joy in the midst of trials, I think of my favorite OT prophet, Habakkuk, who, in his Bible journal went from despair to delight and wrote of holding on to his joy in the midst of all trials in Habakkuk 3:17-18. And Jesus’ brother James, after Jesus was raised from the dead, wrote [see James 1:2] that, IN CHRIST, we, who have our hope in our forever relationship with the Savior, can choose joy in the midst of suffering just as Violet did in the OBD story recounted above. The Apostle Peter also wrote about our trials bringing us even closer to Christ as we suffer for His glory (see 1Peter 4:12-13).

We have to remember that JOY IS A CHOICE, not a feeling. … It’s tough though, isn’t it, … expressing joy when life hurts? Of course it is; and I believe it is only possible when we can focus on our hope in Christ rather than dwelling on the painful here-and-now. So, if any reader here is in the midst of some painful trial, take joy from what Jesus underwent so that we could be with Him in heaven FOREVER.

And one day, no matter what is going on now, we will be with Him.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear Lord, … My joy comes from my hope in You! … Amen

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

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

May 10, 2017 … Dark Road Ahead

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 130 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Steve Green singing the old hymn … Immortal, Invisible God Only Wise … poignantly singing the light provided in the dark road of life by the immortal, invisible God of Glory.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Joshua 1:5, 9 … [NLT] … 
5 No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. … 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 
… God sent the light of His word and His promises to light the path of Joshua as he was to lead God’s people into the Promised Land.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Joshua 1:1-9 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… When the road ahead in life seemed dimmest for Joshua, God gives Him the Lord’s promises to light the way of His people.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Psalm 119:105 [NLT] … 
105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. 
… The Psalmist declares that God will always light the path of the faithful with the light of His truth.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Matthew 28:20[NLT] … 
20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 
… Jesus’ promises that He will ALWAYS be with us as we carry our His Great commission.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … John 8: 12 [NLT] … 
12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” 
… Jesus so clearly tells His followers that He, alone, is the light of the world.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Kirsten Holmberg, uses a personal story to illustrate how God lights our path when things seem darkest. The ODB author wrote: As we ventured home from a family vacation, the road took us through some desolate parts of central Oregon. For nearly two hours after dusk we drove through deep canyons and across desert plateaus. Fewer than twenty sets of headlights punctuated the darkness. Eventually the moon rose on the horizon, visible to us when the road crested hills but eclipsed when we traveled through the lowlands. My daughter remarked on its light, calling it a reminder of God’s presence. I asked whether she needed to see it to know He was there. She replied, “No, but it sure helps.” 

The attached photo can be a visual of how life seems sometimes, can’t it; … like a dark road with very little light to show us the way to go? Well, that’s how Joshua must’ve felt when Moses died and the task of leading God’s people into the Promised Land fell to his shoulders. And in the fist few verses of Joshua, Chapter 1 (esp. vs 5, 9), God gives old Josh His promise that He (GOD) would always be there to light the way for Joshua and His obedient people.

And that promise was reiterated by Jesus to His followers as He walked among them (see John 8:12; and especially as He gave His disciples His Great Commission upon ascending to Heaven (see Matthew 28:20. And that promise holds for any believer today who desires to surrender to the Lord and follow Him down the dark roads of this life.

And that’s why you find me here everyday, seeking out the light, His Light (see John 8:12) which comes from God’s word (see Psalm 119:105; … because I know [REALLY KNOW!] that His truth will ALWAYS light my way, … no matter how dark the road ahead may seem.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear Lord, … You are the light of the world, … shine it brightly on my path that I will always follow it down the dark roads of life. … Amen

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

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

May 9, 2017 … Sharing the Good Stuff

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 129 

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 … powerfully singing of Jesus’s calling for us to be His witnesses to the world.


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Highlight Verse[s]: John 1:6-8 … [NLT] … 
6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 
… God sent John the Baptist to be a witness to the truth of the Messiah, Who had come to be the Light of the world.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 1:6-14 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle John testifies about John the Baptizer, who came to be a witness to the coming of the Messiah in his time.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Matthew 5:13-16 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus calls us to be “salt and light” as witnesses to His grace.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Acts 1:8 [NLT] …   
8 "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 
… Just before His ascension, Jesus called all His disciples, using the power of God’s Spirit, to be His witnesses to to a lost world.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 2nd Timothy 2:1-2 [NLT] … 
1 Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. 2 You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. 
… Paul calls Timothy (and all Christians) to share (i.e., testify) to what we know to be THE TRUTH.

Reference Passage #4 [NKJV] : … 1st Peter 2:9 1 [NLT] … 
9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light. 
… Peter calling on all Christians to share the light of Christ [i.e, the Gospel Truth] with a dying world.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Lawrence Darmani, uses a rather common word picture of God’s desire for His chosen ones to be His witnesses in the world [see photo of witnessing to the truth in court]. The ODB author wrote: During court proceedings, witnesses are more than onlookers or spectators. They are active participants who help determine the outcome of a case. The same is true of our witness for Christ. We are to be active participants in a matter of absolute importance—the truth of Jesus’s death and resurrection. 

I hope all who read here have taken in God’s call, thru His word, for all of us to be salt and light in the world, i.e., witnesses to His gospel truth, as Jesus Himself called us to be (see Matt. 5:13-16 and Acts 1:8). And both Paul and Peter strongly exhorted their fellow Christians to carry the torch of truth, i.e., the Gospel, to this lost/dying world (see 2Tim. 2:2 and 1Peter 2:9).

So the challenge from today’s ODB to me (and you) is quite simple. Are we doing what Avalon sings in the linked song … i.e., testifying to God’s love in our lives? If not, my friends, let’s go out and share the best thing that ever happened in our lives (i.e. receiving God’s grace) with others.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear Lord, … Give me an opportunity, even today, to share Your love with 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.

Monday, May 08, 2017

May 8, 2017 … Waiting For His Way

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 128 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of Michael W Smith singing his song … I’ll Wait For You … poignantly singing of Jesus waiting for all who know Him as Lord … so why can’t we wait for Him?


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 90:12 … [NLT] … 
12 Teach us (LORD) to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. 
… Even in the darkest of moments, Jesus and His Disciples in the upper room sang praises to their God.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 90 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Moses’ song remember how God waits for His people to wait for Him.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Waiting on God’s will and then following it can be a tough wait at times.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Isaiah 26:3 [NLT] … 
3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, … all whose thoughts are fixed on You. 
… Peace can only come to those who patiently wait and focus on God.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 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. … “ 
… Jesus’ charge to disciples … to deny our selves, to wait on Him, and then follow Him.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Peterson, used a personal remembrance to teach on how believers often find the toughness part of following God’s way is to wait on Him to show the way. The ODB author wrote: Over the last few years, two members of my family have faced life-threatening diagnoses. For me, the hardest part of supporting them through their treatments has been the constant uncertainty. I am always desperate for a definitive word from a doctor, but things are rarely that straightforward. Instead of being given clarity, we are often asked to wait. 

Waiting can be tougher than doing sometimes, can’t it? And how many time has God led me here daily to use those three reference passages to which I made reference above? If you’ve followed my journaling these past years, you’d answer, “OFTEN!!” And that says something important to me, especially since I’m waiting on God each day to give me more of His wisdom. It says that He’s telling me something personally; … and that is quite simply … “WAIT ON ME, BILL!”

And He says to all of us, “TRUST ME, I”LL SHOW YOU THE WAY … MY WAY! But do we? I don’t know about any reader here today, but all too often I want to go MY WAY instead of waiting on and following HIS WAY. And I tend to go off some rabbit-trail to failure.

I’m reminded today to wait on my Lord to show me HIS WAY just as He is this morning as I seek His will and His way thru His word. So, i’ll keep coming back here and using the best “GPS” in the world [i.e., His word] to find my way thru this life. How about you?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear Lord, … Again today I’m waiting on You to show me Your way … and You ALWAYS do! … 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, May 07, 2017

May 7, 2017 … Praise Him Anyway!!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 127 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of the group Hillsong singing their song … Sing To The Lord … singing praises to our Lord in worship to King Jesus … Let’s sing with them … “GREAT IS OUR GOD!!”


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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 26:30 … [NLT] … 
30 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives. 
… Even in the darkest of moments, Jesus and His Disciples in the upper room sang praises to their God.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 26:18-30 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus knew He was about to be betrayed and crucified and yes, He and His Disciples sang praises to God.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Psalm 104:33 [NLT] … 
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath. 
… A song of praise … to be sung no matter what our circumstances might be.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Psalm 118:22-24 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… From the Songs of Praise for Passover, God’s people sing praises as their Messiah would become their cornerstone.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, James Banks, tells of a friend being able to praise God as the friend’s world became darker and darker. The ODB author wrote: Even though my friend Mickey was losing his eyesight, he told me, “I’m going to keep praising God every day, because He’s done so much for me.” Jesus gave Mickey, and us, the ultimate reason for such never-ending praise. 

It’s tough to praise God in dark times, isn’t it? But shouldn’t we take heart from Jesus singing praises in His darkest hour of passion (see highlight passage). And from the praise songs He and His disciples sang in that upper room (likely from Psalms 113-118 - see Ps. 118:22-24 above).

And today, likely some reading here are going thru a time of darkness, maybe even despair. But can we set our downers aside for a moment; and get on our knees, as I have this day, and praise our Lord … for He his good … and He has taken on the ultimate in darkness that we might live in His light forever?

And no matter what our condition might be today, let us join with the group Hillsong in the linked song and let us all praise His Holy Name!!!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear Lord, … We, who love You, come here today to PRAISE YOUR HOLY NAME!! … 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, May 06, 2017

May 6, 2017 … Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda Forgive

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 126 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of Laura Story singing her song … Grace Abounds … and THEN TO THIS LINK  to hear a YouTube explanation by the songwriter about how/why she wrote the song.  


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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 18:26-27 … [NLT] … 
21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! 
… Jesus tells Peter that our forgiveness should be like His of us … i.e., forever forgiveness. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 18:21-35 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus parable in response to Peter asking the Lord how often we should forgive one who’s sinned against us.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Colossians 3:12-15 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul on how we should live to reflect Christliness in our lives. Especially meditate on Verse 13.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Xochitl Dixon, used a personal story to teach on how difficult it is to break free from our own selfish desires and forgive someone who has wronged us or to forgive someone who has wronged others in our world. The ODB author wrote: I arrived early at my church to help set up for an event. A woman stood crying at the opposite end of the sanctuary. She’d been cruel and gossiped about me in the past, so I quickly drowned out her sobs with a vacuum cleaner. Why should I care about someone who didn’t like me? 
When the Holy Spirit reminded me how much God had forgiven me, I crossed the room. The woman shared that her baby had been in the hospital for months. We cried, embraced, and prayed for her daughter. After working through our differences, we’re now good friends. 

Wow, … it can be so, so difficult at times to forgive others the way Jesus has forgiven us sinners, can’t it? But as Laura Story sings in her poignant song, linked above, God’s grace does abound in our hears to do what the ODB author did in her testimony above.

These days we see so many things where people are being hostile to other people; and we even experience that personally at times. But as Jesus related to Peter when His Disciple asked how often we should forgive others [see highlight passage], the Lord’s parable spoke to the reality that our willingness to forgive should be forever and always .

Too often I find myself in a “coulda-shoulda-woulda” attitude when I have the opportunity to forgive someone; … but then, due to pride or selfishness, I don’t. Perhaps you’ve got that T-shirt too. Well, how about we pray to let God give us His grace to reach out with our willingness to forgive … just like Jesus was willing to forgive us?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear Lord, … Give me the grace to forgive the very next person You show me I should when I’m given Your opportunity to show Your love/mercy 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.

Friday, May 05, 2017

May 5, 2017 … The Memory’s Ministry

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 12 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Sara Groves singing her song … I’ll Wait … poignantly singing about in what all Christians need to invest more of our selves … remembering where we’ve been and waiting on God to lead us in His direction.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Jeremiah 29:10-11 … [NLT] … 
10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 
… God’s specific promise to His people in exile; … and His New Covenant promise when The Lord, in God’s plan, returns to take His Bride home to be with Him forever.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Jeremiah 29:4-14 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… After Judah’s exile to Babylon, God, thru Jeremiah, charges His believing remnant to trust His plan for them and to work for His glory while in exile, promising to return them to the Promised Land one day. … And He will one day!!
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Psalm 119:105 [NLT] … 
105  Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. 
… Clear enough, don’t you think?

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … 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. 
… God always has a plan - HIS PLAN - for His remnant of repentant believers; but do we believe it and are we willing to wait on His plan to unfold?

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … Luke 9:23 [NLT] … 23 Then He (Jesus) said to the crowd, “If any of you want to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow Me. 
… So often we’re not willing to wait on God leading the way; and we try to go it on our own.

Reference Passage #4 [NKJV] : … Philippians 3:13-14 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God gives us a good plan to follow Him … don’t you think?!!

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David McCasland, used the teachings of famous Bible teacher, Oswald Chambers, to prod us, as Christians, to be more patient in finding God’s way rather than trying to push thru life on our own. The ODB author wrote: Our experiences of loss and disappointment may leave us feeling angry, guilty, and confused. Whether our choices have closed some doors that will never reopen or, through no fault of our own, tragedy has invaded our lives, the result is often what Oswald Chambers called “the unfathomable sadness of ‘the might have been.’ ” We may try to suppress the painful memory, but discover we can’t. 
Chambers reminds us that the Lord is still active in our lives. “Never be afraid when God brings back the past,” he said. “Let memory have its way. It is a minister of God with its rebuke and chastisement and sorrow. God will turn the ‘might have been’ into a wonderful [place of growth] for the future.” 

True, isn’t it?! … All too often we become impatient, especially when things don’t go the way we want them to. And we forge ahead to find our own way thru the fogginess of life, rather than looking for God’s lighthouse our using His GPS (i.e., God’s word) to follow HIS plan for our lives. We try to drive down God’s road using the rearview mirror, rather than just looking at what’s out there ahead of us and trusting God to show us HIS way [see the reference scriptures above].

The rearview mirror (i.e., our memories) should be God’s memory ministry, to help us avoid the pot holes and detours of life. But as Sara Groves sings, we should wait on God to make HIS way clear to us and then go down His road in life, looking out ahead of us to follow our Lord and let Him light the way (primarily using His word).

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear Lord, … Everyday I come here seeking Your way and Your will thru Your word; and You shine a light on my path. … 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, May 04, 2017

May 4, 2017 … Desperate For You, Lord !!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 124 

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 where we need to go when we’re desperate … first to lift our prayers to our God.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 102: 17 … [NLT] … 
17 He will listen to the prayers of the destitute. He will not reject their pleas. 
… TRUTH!! And if we believed it, where would [or should] we go first when we’re desperate? 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 102:1-17 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist showed where he went - and we should go - in prayer to His Lord.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Psalm 121:1-2 [NLT] … 
9  I look up to the mountains-does my help come from there? 2 My help comes from the the Lord, who made heaven and earth. 
… A prayer from desperate believers, ascending to Jerusalem to be with the Lord for Passover.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Matthew 14:32-36 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Where did Jesus go when He was desperate and on His way to the cross? … And shouldn’t we do the same thing when we’re desperate?

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : ... Romans 8:26-27 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK ... 
… God, thru Paul, teaches how His Spirit will intercede for us before God’s throne of grace when we’re so desperate we don’t even know what to say in prayer.

Reference Passage #4 [NKJV] : … Philippians 4:6-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK ...
… God, again thru Paul, teaches where to go when we’re desperate.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Anne Cetas, referred to the Pslamist of Psalm 102, illustrating where we, who are desperate, must go with our needs. The ODB author wrote: The writer of Psalm 102 knew the importance of prayer. This psalm is labeled, “A prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament before the Lord.” He cried out, “Hear my prayer, Lord; . . .  when I call, answer me quickly” (vv. 1–2). God looks down “from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he [views] the earth” (v. 19). 

Dear one; … ever been in a place in life where you didn’t know what to do … a place of desperation? … I think we all could probably remember such a time; … or maybe we’re there right now; and we don’t even know how, or even what, to pray.

So, where do we turn in such a situation? And the answer - OF COURSE - is God, But do we … and then if we do, how do we pray as Bebo Norman sings in the linked song?

And I’ve learned over my years of following King Jesus [which are many!] to take heed to what Paul taught in Phil. 4:6-7 because of the truth of what God teaches in Rom. 8:26-27 … that God’s Spirit will intervene for us when we desperately and humbly come to God’s throne of grace, not knowing even what to prayer for.

That’s where Jesus went when He was most desperate (see Mark 14:32-36), didn't He?   And if it’s a good enough strategy for our Lord, shouldn’t it be good enough for you and me?!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear Lord, … You’re always there when we come to You in desperation. … 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.