Saturday, June 24, 2017

June 24, 2017 … Our Servant King

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 175 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from a depiction of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples at … The Last Supper … poignantly displaying Jesus showing the essence of servant Kingship, where He, their Lord, was willing to serve His servants.



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Highlight Verse[s]: John 13:4-5 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … 
4 So He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him. 
… Jesus, THE LORD, served His Disciples by washing their feet.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 13:3-27 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… King Jesus washed the feet of His inner 12 Disciples to show the servanthood of leadership. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Mark 10:42-45 [NLT] … 
42 So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 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 explains that He, King Jesus, came into the world to serve … not to be served.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Dave Branon, told a story of church leaders mimicking Jesus washing the feet of His 12 Disciples at the Last Supper. The ODB author wrote: It was time for our church to commission a new group of leaders. To symbolize their roles as servant-leaders, the church elders participated in a memorable foot-washing ceremony. Each of the leaders—including the pastor—washed each other’s feet as the congregation observed them. 
What they did that day was modeled for us by Jesus Christ, as recorded in John 13. In that incident, which happened at what is called the Last Supper, … 

But do we, as Jesus’ disciples today really get it? His inner twelve didn’t. You can see how perplexed they were in the YouTube depiction of that Last Supper foot-washing scenario. If this man is the God-man, … if He is our Messiah, … if he is KING JESUS, … why would He want to wash our feet?!

But that’s what servant leadership is all about, isn’t it; … the willingness to serve others rather than relent to our human nature and try to control them, … especially when we’re suppose to lead them? 

I’m going to pray today that I become more of a servant leader in any role of leadership I have in our world, … as a husband, … as a father, … perhaps as a church/ministry leader.

If we’re leaders, … as Jesus was, … let us first be servants of those we're called to lead.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord, … In my roles as husband, church elder, and ministry leader, let me serve others as You have served 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.

Friday, June 23, 2017

June 23, 2017 … In Harmony

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 174 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Casting Crowns singing … If We Are The Body … poignantly singing of our need, as the Body of Christ, to reach out to serve our Lord TOGETHER in harmony.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1st Corinthians 12:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … 
5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. 
… God, thru the Apostle, calls His body to work TOGETHER in harmony.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st Corinthians 12:3-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… According to Paul’s admonition we, the family of Go, are His Body; and we are to work together in harmony for His glory.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Ephesians 4:11-12 [NLT] … 
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 
… God’s BODY must work TOGETHER in HARMONY to do His work on earth.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … 1st Peter 4:10 [NLT] … 
10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 
… Peter joins God’s chorus of Apostolic teachers preaching unity within Christ’s Body to use our individual gifts TOGETHER in harmon to serve the Lord.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David McCasland, used the word picture of a children’s orchestra to illustrate the need for the Body of Christ to be working TOGETHER for His glory. The ODB author wrote: During our granddaughter’s school band concert [see photo], I was impressed by how well this group of 11- and 12-year-olds played together. If each of them had wanted to be a solo performer, they could not have achieved individually what the band did collectively. The woodwinds, brass, and percussion sections all played their parts and the result was beautiful music! 

I really liked one statement the ODB author stated today. He wrote, … “There are no soloists in God’s orchestra.”  And the author should be right, according to God’s word above, should he not? The question is … in God’s orchestra, are we, His Body, playing our best, in harmony, for Him?

Yes, all Christians are given individual gifts/talents; but as the Scriptures above attest, we are to use them as ONE BODY, working TOGETHER for God’s glory. Today, writing this journal entry, I’m doing my best to serve my Lord with my gifts of teaching and exhortation. Perhaps you have other gifts/talents, … maybe service, or hospitality, or giving. But whatever our gifts, … whatever our individual talents, … Christ is our orchestra leader; and we are to come together to play in harmony for Him.

So, let’s play our instruments today … TOGETHER … in the harmony of God’s grace to loudly proclaim His glory.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord, … May I use my gifts for You in Your Body 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, June 22, 2017

June 22, 2017 … Where To Find God’s Peace

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 173 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Steven Curtis Chapman singing … Be Still and Know … poignantly singing of our need, in this confusing world, to seek God’s presence in the quite places of our lives.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Habakkuk 2:1, 2:20 [NKJV} … USE THIS LINK
… Habakkuk finds God by getting alone and listening for him.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-3, 2:20, 3:17-19[NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… The confused Prophet, Habakkuk, seeks God’s presence/power; and God leads him to the truth in the silence of His presence.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Joshua 1:5 [NLT] … 
5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. 
… Since God will never leave us, as Christians, we just need to find a place/time to be with Him and seek His power.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Psalm 46:10 [NLT] … 
10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! 
… God’s proclamation of His power … ALWAYS; … but we must be still to realize His presence.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Isaiah 26:3 [NLT] … 
3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
 … When we’re troubled, the best place to find God’s peace is in a quiet place where we can focus on God’s presence.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Tim Gustafson, used the story of the confused Prophet, Habakkuk, to teach on how we need to seek God’s presence and power in the quiet places of life. The ODB author wrote: We welcome God’s judgment of others, but there’s a pivot point in Habakkuk that gives us pause: “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him” (2:20). All the earth. The oppressed along with oppressors. Sometimes the appropriate response to God’s seeming silence is . . . silence! Why silence? Because we easily overlook our own spiritual poverty. Silence allows us to recognize our sinfulness in the presence of a holy God. 

The journal of the so-called “minor Prophet” Habakkuk is one of my favorites OT books, … probably because I so easily identify with the confused believer, who came to God in a moment where he felt distanced from the God he believed was not being the God of the prophet’s faith. And to seek God’s presence, Habakkuk went to a quiet place (see Hab. 2:1 and found God’s peace/joy in that quiet place (see finally Hab. 3:17-19).

In these harried times in which we live, Satan has fashioned a world where the flow of information and the power of technology have gotten in the way of the simple strategy (i.e., discipline) of getting ALONE and seeking God’s presence … in order to be reminded of the power we have in our relationship with Him. As Stephen Curtis Chapman sings and one of God’s psalmists wrote, we need to “… be still,” and know that God is God.

And that’s why you find me in this quiet place EVERY MORNING, doing what Isaiah proclaimed inIs. 26:3, … escaping the confusion of the world and focusing on God’s presence, which He promises will never leave me (see, Joshua 1:5 and also repeated in Heb. 13:5).

 So, I exhort any reader here who needs to find God’s presence and seek His power, to get alone DAILY with our Lord in a quiet place, and experience the peace and joy, which Habakkuk found in the midst of the world’s trials.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord, … Thank You for You for being here with me in this quiet place; and I revel in the quiet joy of Your presence. … 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, June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017 … Broken Together

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 172 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Casting Crowns singing … Broken Together … poignantly singing of the reality that we’re all broken and we just need to be BROKEN TOGETHER.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 2nd Corinthians 1:7 [NKJV} … 
7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. 
… Suffering together gives glory to our Lord.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 2nd Corinthians 1:3-11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle Paul exhorts Christians to take comfort in our suffering; because when it is for God, it is for His glory.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Romans 8:37-39 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… No suffering in His Name can separate us from the love of God.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Philippians 2:3-4 [NLT] … 
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 
 … Paul exhorts us all to be BROKEN TOGETHER.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Xochiti Dixon, uses the word picture of broken pottery restored to be used for God’s glory. The ODB author wrote: A friend mailed me some of her homemade pottery. Upon opening the box, I discovered the precious items had been damaged during their journey. One of the cups had shattered into a few large pieces, a jumble of shards, and clumps of clay dust. After my husband glued the broken mess back together, I displayed the beautifully blemished cup on a shelf. 
Like that pieced-together pottery, I have scars that prove I can still stand strong after the difficult times God’s brought me through. That cup of comfort reminds me that sharing how the Lord has worked in and through my life can help others during their times of suffering. 

We’re all broken pottery, aren’t we [see photo]? And this ODB entry today reminded me of a time in my marriage when my brokenness, … I.e., infidelity and sexual sin, … was revealed to my wife; and we had to learn how togetherness, involving openness, honesty, and accountability, was the only way to be as the linked song reveals … to be BROKEN TOGETHER. And this past week we, having relied on God’s love and grace, just celebrated our 52 year of marriage, experiencing God’s love and His grace to restore our brokenness - TOGETHER … with Him.

And we, as Christians, are called TOGETHER, in the bonds of covenant with our Bridegroom, Christ - our King, to share and comfort one another thru all the trials and brokenness which is our life and world; and we do so to glorify the One who is mending us - all the broken pieces - into a cup which can serve Him forever in glory.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord, … Thank You for Your redeeming grace which mends is to work TOGETHER as Your children to serve and glorify You as our Redeemer, King Jesus. … Amen

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June 20, 2017 … Just Try A Little Kindness

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 171 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Glen Campbell singing a hit song from 1970 … Try A Little Kindness … poignantly singing of what Christians should be gladly sharing with others every day.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1st Thessalonians 5:11 [NKJV} … 
11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 
… Paul recognized that we Christians should encourage one another.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st Thessalonians 5:9-29 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle Paul encourages encouragement.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Galatians 6:9-10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul recognized that Christians must do good to/for one another.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Ephesians 4:29 [NLT] … 
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
 … Paul on how to use our words to encourage rather than discourage.  

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Mart DeHaan, writes of recognized relational business practices which yield more productivity. The ODB author wrote: In the workplace, words of encouragement matter. How employees talk to one another has a bearing on customer satisfaction, company profits, and co-worker appreciation. Studies show that members of the most effective work groups give one another six times more affirmation than disapproval, disagreement, or sarcasm. Least productive teams tend to use almost three negative comments for every helpful word. 

I worked in managing hospital workers for over 30 years; and I learned that a supervisor could get far more productivity from his colleagues by showing kindness and respect rather than trying to demonstrate the authority of a “BOSS.”  Take a look at the attached photo above. And, if you worked for me, which face would your rather see most of the time? …

No brainer, right?!  😇

And that’s what the Apostle Paul realized would produce more Christlikeness in fellow Christians; and hence the many writings in his letters (see above) encouraging Christians to be encouragers. The Apostle likely remembered what he had been like in his days of persecuting Christians; and once having been saved by Christ and having been shown the grace of encouragement from His Savior, Paul wanted other Christians to share the love, kindness, and smiley-faces that only the love of God can provide.

So, what can we do to share a smile and friendliness to others today?

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord, … Let me be like You today and dole out your grace in what I say 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.

Monday, June 19, 2017

June 19, 2017 … Driven and Determined!!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 170 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from a worship group singing a contemporary arrangement of the old hymn … I I Have Decided To Follow Jesus … poignantly singing of the desire, determination, and drivenness to follow Jesus … no turning back!! 



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Highlight Verse[s]: 1st Kings 8:57-58 [NKJV} … 
57 May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us nor forsake us, 58 that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. 
… Solomon is driven to lead God’s people to follow their LORD.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st Kings 8:54-63 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Solomon shows God’s people his dedication to His Lord.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… We must trust in the Lord with ALL OUR HEARTS.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … 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 on what it takes to be His disciple.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … John 10:27, 14:21 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK  ...
… Jesus on obedience to God being the measure of our love for Him.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Keila Ochoa, relates a personal observation to illustrate what it’s like to be a disciple of Christ. The ODB author wrote: A few months ago I received an email inviting me to join a community of “driven people.” I decided to look up the word driven, and I learned that a driven person is someone highly motivated to succeed and who will work hard to achieve his goals. 

Author Ochoa’s OBD entry today raises the obvious question: “Whom or what do we follow?” Do we follow the world? … Do we follow the lusts of the flesh … Or … do we follow Jesus! And if we decide on Jesus, just how driven are we to follow Him?

After one takes in the song linked above, the photo, and meditates on the Scriptures provided, I don’t think I need to write anymore here, do I? We have to decide, don’t we?

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord, … You are my Good Shepherd; and being one of Your flock, I’m driven to follow You. … Amen

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

June 18, 2017 … Abba Always There

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 169 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing their song … I Want To Be Just Like You … poignantly singing of the desire of a Christian father to be holy example for his little child.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Proverbs 20:7 [NKJV} … 
7 The righteous man walks in his integrity; … his children are blessed after him. 
… Our children are blessed when we walk in righteousness and follow the footsteps of our Abba Father.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Proverbs 20:3-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Solomon lays our - from God - what it takes to be the righteous father raising a child to be like Father God.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Exodus 34:5-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Moses declares to God’s disobedient people just Who their (our) Heavenly Father is and how we must live like Him as an example for our children.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Lamentations 3:22-23 [NLT] … 
22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; … great is Your faithfulness. 
 … God, our Abba Father, our Heavenly Father, is always there to guide us when we need Him.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Cindy Hess Kasper, relates a personal story to illustrate what it’s like to have a father we can count on. The ODB author wrote: My father once admitted to me, “When you were growing up, I was gone a lot.” … I don’t remember that. Besides working his full-time job, he was gone some evenings to direct choir practice at church, and he occasionally traveled for a week or two with a men’s quartet. But for all the significant (and many small) moments of my life—he was there [see photo]. 

I had a dad like that; and I can recall him ALWAYS being there to root me when I played on various sports teams. And when I became a dad, I tried to do all I could to be there for our two daughters. And, … now I see them (and our sons-in-law) doing all they can to be there for our grandkids.

I guess it’s like Phillips, Craig, and Dean sing in the linked song. In our God, on this Father's Day, we have the “bestest” Father of them all! And as parents, if we are so blessed, we need to do all we can to imitate and be like our Abba Father. Because He is ever faithful (see Lam. 3:22-23); and so must we be for our kids, just as Solomon declared in today’s highlight passage.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord, … I want to be just like You! … Amen

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

Saturday, June 17, 2017

June 17, 2017 … He Hears Me

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 168

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the Maranatha Singers singing … He Knows My Name … poignantly singing of the reality that our God hears His children EVERY TIME we call.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 147:11 [NKJV} … 
11 The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, … in those who hope in His mercy. 
… God loves to hear the praises of those who love Him and call on His mercy.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 147:1-11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist sings of how God loves to hear from those who love Him and call to Him with praise.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Psalm 116:1-2 [NLT] … 1 I love my Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. 2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, … therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. … Any born-again Christian becomes His child; and God always want to hear His kids.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … John 1:12-13 [NLT] … 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 
… Any born-again Christian becomes His child; and God always want to hear His kids.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Alyson Kieda, relates a very personal story of how much she covets the time she’s able to spend with her mother, even tho she suffers from dementia. The ODB author wrote: On the two-hour drive home from a family member’s wedding, my mom asked me for the third time what was new in my job. I once again repeated some of the details as if telling her for the first time, while wondering what might possibly make my words more memorable. My mom has Alzheimer’s, a disease that progressively destroys the memory, can adversely affect behavior, and eventually leads to the loss of speech—and more. 
I grieve because of my mom’s disease but am thankful she is still here and we can spend time together—and even converse. It thrills me that whenever I go to see her she lights up with joy and exclaims, “Alyson, what a pleasant surprise!” We enjoy each other’s company [see photo]; and even in the silences when words escape her, we commune together.  

I think we often lose sight of the reality of just how much God loves to hear from His kids, … i.e., we who are born-again in Christ. And, the word of God above, His love letter to me and all of His children, attests to the truth that He even bends down to hear me when I call out to Him. Certainly I know He loves it when He hears me praising Him, … over and over and over and over again.

But He also bends down to hear me when I come to Him in anguish, … praying … maybe in confusion or in pain (Ps. 116:1-2). That’s why you’ll find me here, EVERY MORNING, lifting my voice to my Papa, God, … because I know He’ll be there listening.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … hear me again today as You do every day. … 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, June 16, 2017

June 16, 2017 … Made Alive By Grace

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 167

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Unspoken singing their song… Call It Grace … poignantly singing of that amazing grace which God offers feely to anyone who would repent of their sins and come alive in Christ.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Ephesians 2:1 [NKJV} … 
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, … 
… God, thru Paul lays out the reality of the amazing free grace offered by God, allowing any/all who were (are) dead in sin to be made alive in Christ.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Ephesians 2:1-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, expounds on the truth that anyone can come from death to life by the gift of God’s grace.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … John 3:16-18 [NLT] … 
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 
… Jesus has saved us from death and brought those who believe in Him to eternal life.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Bill Crowder, relates a personal story how his father was pronounced dead from an auto accident; but later was revived and brought to life. The ODB author wrote: As a young man, my dad was traveling with a group of friends to an out-of-town sporting event when the tires of their car slipped on the rain-soaked roads. They had an accident—a bad accident. One of his friends was paralyzed and another was killed. My dad was declared dead and taken to the morgue. His shocked and grief-stricken parents came to identify him. But my dad revived from what turned out to be a deep coma. Their mourning turned to joy.  

That’s a remarkable story of the joy which a family experienced thinking their loved one died but was brought back to life again. But think of the joy experienced in heaven by God’s family of angels when even one lost sinner, dead in sin, is given eternal life when that one repents of his/her sin and receives God’s free gift of His saving grace (read about that joy in parable of Jesus in Luke 15).

If you’re reading this, I pray (and will below) that any/all reading here have been made alive by Christ’s saving grace; and now, having died to sin, we will live forever with God’s family in heaven.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, I pray that any reading here, having repented of our sin, can pray our thanks to You for saving us by Your wondrous gift of saving grace. … 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, June 15, 2017

June 15, 2017 … In Pursuit of Peace

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 166

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Don Men singing the old hymn … Wonder Peace … poignantly singing of what God calls of all Christians … i.e., to experience His wonderful peace and unity in the Body of Christ.

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Highlight Verse[s]: Ephesians 4:1…3 [NKJV] … 
1  I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, … 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 
 … The pursuit of a bond of peace in Christ’s body is a sign of our worthiness as Christians. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Ephesians 4:1-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, exhorts Christians to worthiness in our calling as Christians to pursue peace rather than prideful strife.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Isaiah 26:3 [NLT] … 
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. 
… The Prophet brings God’s charge to keep His peace by focusing our mind/hearts on His ways and His will.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Matthew 5:9 [NLT] … 
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” 
 … Jesus commands His followers to FOLLOW Him, … not to try to outrun Him.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … John 13:34-35 [NLT] … 
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.” 
 … Jesus commands us to share love and to be unified in His love.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, relates a personal story of Christians striving toward unity and a bond of peace. The ODB author wrote: After I confronted my friend by email over a matter on which we had differed, she didn’t respond. Had I overstepped? I didn’t want to worsen the situation by pestering her, but neither did I want to leave things unresolved before she went on a trip overseas. As she popped into my mind throughout the following days, I prayed for her, unsure of the way forward. Then one morning I went for a walk in our local park and saw her, pain etched on her face as she glimpsed me. “Thank You, Lord, that I can talk to her,” I breathed as I approached her with a welcoming smile. We talked openly and were able to resolve matters.  

The Apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration and anointing of God’s Spirit, laid it out pretty clear for His church in the highlight passage above, didn’t he? … And the practical outcome, when God’s people are experiencing hostility and separation, we, as His “called ones,” I.e., Christians, will not experience any peace until those bonds of peace are solidified to honor God, showing off His love (see also John 13:34-35).

The question arises for us today very clearly from the ODB entry, doesn’t it? … Are there any relationships in our lives which cry out of mending or unity? … If so, what are we waiting for? … Let’s go out and set aside our fears and pride and mend some nets; .. so that we can be more effective “fishers of men (and/or women).”

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, help me to take You up on Your offer to help me walk WITH You rather thank work FOR 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, June 14, 2017

June 14, 2017 … Going With Grace

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 165 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Unspoken singing their song … Call It Grace … poignantly singing of the force of God which gives us new and more power-filled life.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 11:28-30 [NKJV} … 
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” 
… Jesus invited His followers to yoke ourselves WITH Him, not to work FOR Him. 
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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 11:28-29 [The Message} … 
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” 
… The Message version of the highlight passage.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 11:25-30 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus invites His disciples to walk WITH Him, … not FOR Him.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … 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 commands His followers to FOLLOW Him, … not to try to outrun Him.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Philippians 4:6-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, disclaims our human desire to control things and worry about the outcomes … He commands us to pray and to seek His peace (see also Isaiah 26:3).

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, helps his readers evaluate the efficacy of our walk with Christ The ODB author wrote: A friend and his wife, now in their early nineties and married for sixty-six years, wrote their family history for their children, grandchildren, and generations to come. The final chapter, “A Letter from Mom and Dad,” contains important life-lessons they’ve learned. One caused me to pause and take inventory of my own life: “If you find that Christianity exhausts you, draining you of your energy, then you are practicing religion rather than enjoying a relationship with Jesus Christ. Your walk with the Lord will not make you weary; it will invigorate you, restore your strength, and energize your life” (Matt. 11:28–29).  

I found today’s OBD entry a convicting self-exam into my Christian walk. It motivated me to ask whether I was really receiving and using God’s grace [hear today’s song] to follow my Lord’s lead; or was I trying to do the work myself? And today’s OBD teaching was very convicting for me. What about you? … McCasland wrote: When I think that serving God is all up to me, I’ve begun working for Him instead of walking with Him. There is a vital difference. If I’m not walking with Christ, my spirit becomes dry and brittle. 

OUCH!! … I don’t know about my fellow readers; but all too often I find myself trying to work FOR Christ, rather that doing what He commanded me in Luke 9:23; and also what He offered to me in Matthew 11:28-30.

 So, I’ve decided to be more careful to yoke myself to my Lord and let HIM take the lead; and then see if that doesn’t yield more of the peace He promises in Isaiah 26:3 and Phil. 4:6-7.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, help me to take You up on Your offer to help me walk WITH You rather thank work FOR You. … Amen

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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 13, 2017 … The Son Shines Thru the Clouds

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 164 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in images of God’s creation in a YouTube video of Gordon Mote singing his beautiful song … Don’t Let Me Miss the Glory … poignantly singing of God discovered and known through His creation.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Job 37:16 [NKJV} … 
16 Do you know how the clouds are balanced. This wondrous works of Him Who is perfect in knowledge. 
… And the Son shines thru His clouds.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Job 37:1-16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Job begins to discover the wonders of God’s glory thru His creation … just as we should!! 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : …Psalm 19:1 [NLT] … 
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. 
… We take a long look at God’s creation all around us and see the Creator.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David Roper, uses a personal story to illustrate how our God shows Himself thru His creation. The ODB author wrote: One day many years ago my boys and I were lying on our backs in the yard watching the clouds drift by. “Dad,” one asked, “why do clouds float?” “Well, son,” I began, intending to give him the benefit of my vast knowledge, but then I lapsed into silence. “I don’t know,” I admitted, “but I’ll find out for you.” 
The answer, I discovered, is that condensed moisture, descending by gravity, meets warmer temperatures rising from the land. That moisture then changes into vapor and ascends back into the air. That’s a natural explanation for the phenomenon. 
But natural explanations are not final answers. Clouds float because God in His wisdom has ordered the natural laws in such a way that they reveal the “wonders of him who has perfect knowledge” (Job 37:16). Clouds then can be thought of as a symbol—an outward and visible sign of God’s goodness and grace in creation. 

Upon reading David Roper’s story and observations above, I immediately recalled one of my favorite Christians songs, written and sung (see link above) by a blind Christian song writer/artist who’s never seen what we can see in the glory of God’s creation. And in the highlight passage above, it took Job’s horrible circumstances in life for him to be able to finally see what God had wrought in nature for Job to really discover God’s glory.

Prayerfully I can have my eyes opened and won’t have to share in Gordon’s Mote’s blindness or Job’s pain and travails to look around me and not miss the glory of my Creator.

My friends, let us all take in the glory of our Savior in what He has created for us in this world and in the circumstances of our lives to allow us to see and know Him.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord, … May I never take You or Your creation for granted as I look around me 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.

Monday, June 12, 2017

June 12, 2017 … Nothing Useless

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 163 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir singing … It’s Not in Vain … poignantly singing of the truth we all must realize when we do anything in Christ’s Name and for His glory.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1 Corinthians 15:58 [NKJV} … 
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 
… And never forget it!!!
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1 Corinthians 15:42-58 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle writes of the truth that anything we do in God’s name and for His glory is not in vain.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … John 15:5 [NLT] … 
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. …” 
… Jesus on how we Christians must remain connected to Him to live and be fruitful in His Name.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : …Galatians 6:9-10 [NLT] … 
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. 
… Paul exhorts all Christians, no matter what they do for Christ, to keep on keeping on!

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Xochiti Dixon, uses a personal story to illustrate our charge as Christians to keep on keeping on in Christ. The ODB author wrote: In my third year battling discouragement and depression caused by limited mobility and chronic pain, I confided to a friend, “My body’s falling apart. I feel like I have nothing of value to offer God or anyone else.” Her hand rested on mine. “Would you say it doesn’t make a difference when I greet you with a smile or listen to you? Would you tell me it’s worthless when I pray for you or offer a kind word?” I settled into my recliner. 
“Of course not.” She frowned. “Then why are you telling yourself those lies? You do all those things for me and for others.” 
I thanked God for reminding me that nothing we do for Him is useless. 

It’s easy to let the enemy con us into thinking we’re useless, isn’t it, … especially when we feel physically or emotionally weakened. But that’s when we must draw upon the strength provided by God’s Spirit to overcome our feelings and remember the truth of today’s highlight passage. And as the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sings in the linked song, remembering the truth from God’s word, … that NOTHING we do in God’s Name and for His glory is in vain.

So, perhaps we can pray for someone today. Perhaps we can just smile at someone who has a downcast look. Or maybe … we can encourage someone who needs a lift. But let’s just do it for God’s glory; and it will not have been done in vain.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord, … Help me to help somebody in Your Name today … and tomorrow too. … 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, June 11, 2017

June 11, 2017 … The Posture of Our Heart

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 162 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from my friend, Clay Crosse, singing his song … When I Lift My Hands … poignantly singing the posture of our hearts needing to be that of surrender when we pray to our God.

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Highlight Verse[s]: 2 Chronicles 6:12 [NKJV} … 
12 Then Solomon[b] stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands [and he prayed] … 
… Solomon postured himself in surrender before God to dedicate the Temple to God. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: 2 Chronicles 6:7-15 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… King Solomon in dedicating the Temple to the Lord, took a posture of humility in his prayer of dedication.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : …Proverbs 4:23 [NLT] … 
23 Keep your heart will all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life. 
… God, thru Solomon, shows us that it is from the heart all of our life, and certainly our prayers, must flow.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Luke 18:10-13 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Two men in the Temple to pray, both standing … a Pharisee prideful and a humbled sinner.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Ephesians 3:14-21 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle, on his knees, prayed a prayer of surrender, wonder, and thankfulness to God.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Randy Kilgore, uses an interesting word picture to illustrate our charge as Christians to help the lost find Jesus. The ODB author wrote: When my husband plays the harmonica for our church praise team, I have noticed that he sometimes closes his eyes when he plays a song. He says this helps him focus and block out distractions so he can play his best—just his harmonica, the music, and him—all praising God. 
Some people wonder if our eyes must be closed when we pray. Since we can pray at any time in any place, however, it might prove difficult to always close our eyes—especially if we are taking a walk, pulling weeds, or driving a vehicle! 
There are also no rules on what position our body must be in when we talk to God. … Whether we kneel or stand before God, whether we lift our hands heavenward or close our eyes so we can better focus on God—it is not the posture of our body, but of our heart that is important. Everything we do “flows from [our heart]” (Prov. 4:23). 

This morning I prayed when I woke, lying in bed. I prayed, as I do every morning on my knees. And also daily, I find myself praying for God to reveal Himself to me as I sit and meditate on His word and journal my thoughts here [see photo]. I may be in differing physical postures when I pray; but I try to be in a spiritual posture of humility and surrender each time I come to my Abba Father in prayer.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord, … As I sit here at my computer, writing this, I humbly pray that I will always come to You with a heart of surrender. … Amen

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

Saturday, June 10, 2017

June 10, 2017 … Helping Others Find Him

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 161 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Steve Green singing … People Need the Lord … poignantly singing of the need of all Christians to help others find Jesus.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Acts 8:34 [NKJV} … 
34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” 
 … The Ethiopian was seeking the Savior from God’s word; and Philip helps Him find THE TRUTH and THE LORD.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Acts 8:26-40 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Philip as a Deacon in the early church, helps the Ethiopian eunuch find Christ from God’s word. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Matthew 28:19-20 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Christ’s “great commission” for all believers to share His kingdom gospel with others who are lost.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Romans 10:14 [NLT] … 
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 
 … God, thru Paul, exhorts His disciples to share His gospel with any/all who will listen so that seekers may find and respond to His call for their salvation.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Randy Kilgore, uses an interesting word picture to illustrate our charge as Christians to help the lost find Jesus. The ODB author wrote: Waldo is the cartoonish star of “Where’s Waldo,” a now-classic best-selling children’s book series. Waldo hides himself in the crowded scenes on each page, inviting children to find where he’s hiding. Parents around the world love the moments of sweet discovery when their children’s faces signal they’ve found Waldo. They also enjoy the occasions when they’re invited to help find him. 

You know, … I’m terrible in the comic classic, “Where’s Waldo,” of locating that little guy in those confusing images (see photo). I’d really need someone to highlight where he was, as with the locator circle in the photo. If my life depended on my finding Waldo all by myself in one of those cartoons, I’d be in trouble.

And that’s sorta like where I was well over 30 years ago, when I was lost and needed help to find Jesus; but God gave me some really strong hints and sent some loving Christians to help me find Him; and as lost as I was, I finally was able to reluctantly say, “There You are, Lord,” … and my life changed forever.

As Steve Green sings (linked above), in this confusing world, people need help to find the Lord, don’t they? He’ll most certainly make Himself evident; but we need to do all we can, today (and tomorrow), to help the lost find our wondrous “Waldo” (i.e., King Jesus). That’s our calling (see Scriptures above); and so let’s get busy helping the lost to find our Lord.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … use me as a guide to help others find You. … Amen

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

Friday, June 09, 2017

June 9, 2017 … Singing His Praises

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 160 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Hillsong leading in worship and singing … Sing To The Lord … poignantly singing of the need of all Christians to sing our praises to our God.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 2 Chronicles 20:21 [NKJV} … 
21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.” [singing Ps. 106:1-2] 
… King Jehoshaphat has the choir lead the people into battle singing praises from Ps. 106. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: 2 Chronicles 20:14-22 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… King Jehoshaphat chooses a choir of God’s people to lead the Israelites into battle against their enemies singing praises to God; and the result was victory for God’s glory.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Psalms 47:6, 68:4, 104:33-34 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Three of many psalms written and dedicated to praising our God.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Colossians 3:16 [NLT] … 
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 
 … God, thru Paul, exhorted His people to live out our worship of God, singing His praises with hymns and songs.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Peterson, reports a scientific study which documents the effect which singing has on the brain. The ODB author wrote: Singing changes the brain! Some studies show that when we sing, our bodies release hormones that relieve anxiety and stress. Other research indicates that when a group of people sings together, their heartbeats actually synchronize with each other. 

I was in the Dept. of Neurology for a major medical school for 35 years before retiring from my medical career to go into ministry; and I can absolutely confirm author Peterson’s observation about the effect singing has on our brain. And so, it’s no wonder that God called on His children so often to use music with powerful lyrics (i.e, singing praises) to even lead them into battle (see highlight passage).

And we know that a major book in the OT is a collection of songs (i.e., Psalms), many of which were written to praise God for His majesty, greatness, and glory [see references to the psalms above]. And even the Apostle Paul on several occasions in his teachings to Christians exhorted them (and us) to sing God’s praises [see the Col. 3 passage above as one example].

And so, I hope readers here can see why I seek out a song EVERY DAY which enhances my (and prayerfully your) worship and devotional time [one such linked above]. And I would encourage others reading, i.e, those who seek a deeper way to worship our God, to use praise music to do so.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … I sing Your praises daily and it brings me closer to You. … Amen

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

Thursday, June 08, 2017

June 8, 2017 … AMAZING GRACE !!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 159 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Judy Collins singing her popular version of the old hymn … Amazing Grace … poignantly singing of God’s willingness to forgive such a wretch like me.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Hebrews 8:12 [NKJV} … 
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 
… One of God’s greatest promises to repentant, born-again sinners.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Hebrews 8:6-13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God to the NT Hebrews reminds them of His New Covenant and His forgiveness of their sins forevermore.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Jeremiah 31:34 [NLT] … 
34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” 
… God’s ultimate promise to His sinful children, fulfilled by His Son on the cross.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Ephesians 2:8-10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s amazing grace … forever His willingness to give repentant sinners His saving grace.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Keila Ochoa, used a personal story to teach about God’s willingness to forget our sin. The ODB author wrote: When I look at my hands, I am reminded that I lost my wedding and engagement rings. I was multitasking as I packed for a trip, and I still have no idea where they ended up. I dreaded telling my husband about my careless mistake—worried how the news would affect him. But he responded with more compassion and care for me than concern over the rings. However, there are times when I still want to do something to earn his grace! He, on the contrary, doesn’t hold this episode against me. 

It’s one thing for a hubby to willingly forgive a wife’s error; but what God has done for me is truly UNBELIEVABLE ;… that He would forgive - and even choose to forget - my sins which nailed His son to the cross. Truly, as the most popular song in history sings (linked above). … God’s saving grace is more than remarkable; … His willingness to not only forgive a wretch like me but then to choose to forget my sinfulness … FOREVER! … AMAZING!!!

Do I sense my fellow readers here joining me in a resounding … HALLELUJAH!!!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … may my life reflect forgiveness and grace to others as You have extended to me, such a wretched sinner. … 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, June 07, 2017

June 7, 2017 … God Calling

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 156 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Dolly Parting singing her song … Hello God … poignantly singing a conversation which the singer had with her God as she called out to Him in need.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Genesis 3:8-9 [NKJV} … 
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 
… Even when Adam had sinned, God called out to him.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Genesis 3:1-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God desires to be heard by even us sinners.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … John 3:16-17 [NLT] … 
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 
… God shows how much He loved us … by sending His Son to save us.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … 1st John 4:9-10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God called out to sinful mankind through His Son.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, James Banks, used a cute personal story about his grandson to teach about God calling out to His children. The ODB author wrote: One morning my daughter gave her eleven-month-old son her cell phone for a moment to entertain him. Less than a minute later my phone rang, and as I picked it up I heard his little voice. He had somehow hit the “speed dial” to my number, and what followed was a “conversation” I will long remember.  My grandson can only say a few words, but he knows my voice and responds to it. So I talked to him and told him how much I love him. 
The joy I felt at the sound of my grandson’s voice was a reminder to me of God’s deep desire for a relationship with us. From the very beginning, the Bible shows God actively pursuing us. After Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God and then hid from Him in the garden, “the Lord God called” to Adam (Gen. 3:9). 

I identify with that story, because I can recall my wife having our little one year old daughter get on the phone and talk to me when I was a resident working at the Mayo Clinic during my graduate school training. It was such a joy to call out her name and have her respond to my call with … “Daddy.” When we call out to our children and they respond to our love by calling back to us, it must be like God feels like when His lost little children respond to His greatest call, … i.e., when He sent His Son to the world to save mankind (see reference passages above).

And when we hear Him calling and we come to Him, He is there with open arms, to love us for eternity. I pray we’ve all heard that call and responded, … running into His arms. And I also pray that we’re in a relationship with God, the Father, which promotes us talking to our God as does Dolly Parton in today’s linked song.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, I often hear You call me from Your word; and I know that You ALWAYS hear me calling out to You. … Amen

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

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

June 6, 2017 … Following God Today

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 155 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Mercy Me singing … Word of God Speak … poignantly singing of the best way to hear from the God of the Universe … by meditating on His Word, the Bible.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 119:37 [NLT} … 
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things, and give me life through Your word. 
… We find the Godly way of life by meditating on God’s truth.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 119: 33-40 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist declares his eagerness and discipline in meditating in God’s word and how it changes his life.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Joshua 1:8 [NLT] … 
8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 
… God’s prescription for success in following His will for life - i.e., daily meditation in His word.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Psalm 1:1-3 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God shows us how to prosper in His ways … to meditate on His word - DAY AND NIGHT!

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … James 1:25 [NLT] … 
25 But if you look carefully [i.e., “meditate”] into the perfect law that sets you free [i.e., “God’s word”], and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. 
 … If we seek God’s blessing, we need to be

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David McCasland, wrote about a Harvard University President’s formula for success in life. The ODB author wrote: Dr. Charles W. Eliot, longtime president of Harvard University, believed that ordinary people who read consistently from the world’s great literature for even a few minutes a day could gain a valuable education. In 1910, he compiled selections from books of history, science, philosophy, and fine art into fifty volumes called The Harvard Classics. Each set of books included Dr. Eliot’s Reading Guide titled “Fifteen Minutes A Day” containing recommended selections of eight to ten pages for each day of the year.

Well our God also provided mankind with HIS formula for success; and as you can read in the Scriptures above, God’s way to success in carrying out His will and following His ways is to meditate with discipline (i.e., daily) in His word. And as the group Mercy Me sings in the linked song, we can be - and often are - at a loss for words, … but God never is!!

And when we’re willing to discipline ourselves to really meditate on his word daily, He will not only lead us in His direction (see all of Psalm 119); but He will transform us in the image of His Son, our King, Jesus.

My friends, that’s why you find me here EVERY DAY, digging into God’s word, meditating on it, and journaling what I believe my Lord gives me for my own walk in life [see photo], as well as to help others on their walk as well. I pray any reading here are developing that discipline of daily Bible meditation.

And if you’d like help in that walk, I’d strongly recommend a book by Robert J. Morgan, entitled Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation, which you can hear about AT THIS LINK, … and it can be procured online.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, thank You for showing me Your ways as I meditate on 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.

Monday, June 05, 2017

June 5, 2017 … God’s Kingdom is NOW!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 154 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Gordon Mote singing his song … Don’t Let Me Miss the Glory … poignantly singing of the reality we often miss, looking forward to heaven … that God’s Kingdom is here-and-now!!


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Highlight Verse[s]: Romans 8:11 [NKJV} … 
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 
… God’s Spirit dwells in the truly born-again Christian NOW. We don’t have to wait for Heaven to experience the Kingdom of God.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Romans 8:1-11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle Paul teaching on the reality of God’s Kingdom … being NOW!!!
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … John 10:10 [NLT] … 
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 
… Jesus clearly states the truth and reality that He wants us to experience God’s kingdom and His abundant life … NOW!

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Ephesians 3:14-21 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Do we get it?!! … As born-again Christians, we have God’s kingdom right now; … all of it! We don’t need to be waiting on heaven.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 2Peter 1:2-4 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Peter explains God’s truth; … that we have all we need of God’s Spirit to experience all of God in this life as Christians. … But do we?

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Tim Gustafson, used a story of an older man learning that life goes by so fast that we may miss so much of the really important things. The ODB author wrote: “I went from the horse-and-buggy to a man walking on the moon,” said the elderly man to his granddaughter, who shared this story with me recently. But then he mused, “I never thought it would be so short.” 
Life is short, and many of us turn to Jesus because we want to live forever. That’s not bad, but we don’t comprehend what eternal life really is. We tend to crave the wrong things. We long for something better, and we think it’s just ahead. If only I were out of school. If only I had that job. If only I were married. If only I could retire. If only . . . And then one day we catch an echo of our grandfather’s voice as we wonder where the time has flown. 

Wow; … I so love the linked song (above), where Gordon Mote, a so talented blind singer relates, in song, how we often fly thru life, as the man in the OBD entry today expresses; and as we live, we may miss a lot of what God has provided for His own (i.e., born-again believers); and that is what the song sings we shouldn’t miss … God’s glory!

Life does fly by, doesn’t it? And quite often as the Tim G writes above, we, as Christians, tend to desire heaven so much that we miss the reality that Christ has given us, as the Scriptures above attest, all we need NOW to experience all of God’s kingdom and His glory.

My friend, God’s Kingdom is NOW. Let’s not miss it today.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, don’t let me miss your glory by my own selfish pursuits or my desire to be with You in heaven. … 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, June 04, 2017

June 4, 2017 … Seeking His Peace

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 155 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of song and lyrics from Don Men singing the old hymn … Wonderful Peace … poignantly singing of the only peace we can seek that is powerful to salve the wounds of our lives.
 

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Highlight Verse[s]: John 14:27 [NKJV} … 
27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 
… The only peace we can seek/find that will help us deal with our fleshly anxieties and worldly cares is His peace.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 14: 25-31 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus is the only one who can give His disciples a peace that overcomes our worldly cares. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Isaiah 26:3 [NKJV] … 
3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. 
… Seeking and holding our focus on the Lord is the only way to hold onto His peace.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Philippians 4:6-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul writes that the only way to find God’s perfect peace is to set aside our fears and focus, in prayer, on God’s will and His ways.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, uses a personal story to illustrate how/where we must seek to find peace in our lives. The ODB author wrote: A friend shared with me that for years she searched for peace and contentment. She and her husband built up a successful business, so she was able to buy a big house, fancy clothes, and expensive jewelry. But these possessions didn’t satisfy her inner longings for peace, nor did her friendships with influential people. Then one day, when she was feeling low and desperate, a friend told her about the good news of Jesus. There she found the Prince of Peace, and her understanding of true peace and contentment was forever changed.  

My wife always says that the best place to find God’s peace is on a quiet beach somewhere (see photo). Well, I don’t disagree that a beautiful beach, like the ones we’ve experienced together on vacations in Hawaii or in France or in Florida are great places to lay aside the cares of the world and experience God’s peace.

But we don’t have to be on a beach to seek or find that “peace that surpasses all understanding” (i.e., God’s peace), which Paul wrote about in Philippians 4:6-7. No, all it takes is a quiet place where we can go to God in prayer, or meditation in God’s word, to be calmed and quieted by the perfect peace of God (see also Isaiah 26:3).

In a very disquieting time for Jesus’ disciples in the Upper Room the night before Jesus went to the cross [see the highlight passages], the Lord offered the only place that those men (and us here and now) would (or will) ever find God’s peace; and that is in seeking, receiving, and using the grace of our Lord to overcome our flesh, the world, or the devil.

So, I pray that all reading here will join me on our own quiet mental “beach” today to seek out and receive God’s peace.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … I’m here on my quiet-time “beach” today with You and in Your word; … it’s SO peaceful. … 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.