Saturday, October 21, 2017

October 21, 2017 … Our Safe Place

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 294 

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 his song … His Strength Is Perfect … poignantly singing of where we can run when we feel weak or threatened … into the arms of Jesus.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Proverbs 18:10 [NLT] … 
10 The Name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. 
… David’s one desire, … even as his life was in jeopardy.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Proverbs 18:10-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… We all need a safe place to run to when we feel threatened.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 23:1-4 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus, our Good Shepherd walks with us, even thru the dark valleys of life.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Isaiah 26:3, 41:10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet shows believers where they can go to find peace and strength.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 2 Corinthians 12: 9 [NLT] … 9 But He [Jesus] said to me [Paul], “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
… We can ALWAYS rely on God’s grace … no matter how dire the circumstances are.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Elisha Morgan, used a personal story to illustrate how we all need a “safe place” to go to when we feel weakened or threatened. The ODB author wrote: My daughter and I were arranging to attend an extended family gathering. Because she was nervous about the trip, I offered to drive. “Okay. But I feel safer in my car. Can you drive it?” she asked. I assumed she preferred her more spacious vehicle to my compact one so I responded, “Is my car too cramped?” “No, it’s just that my car is my safe place. Somehow I feel protected there.” 

To my fellow Christians here; … do we all have a safe place to go when we feel insecure or unsafe? If not, I would say that we first need to look to how solid our relationship is with Jesus. And that is certainly what is reflected in the Scriptures above, isn’t it? And it’s what Steven Curtis Chapman sings about …i.e., our gleaning our strength, in times of weakness, from our God.

But beyond this truth, we all likely need - and should have - someone or a small group to whom we can go when we need uplifting, encouragement, or - as in the photo - a loving hug. And i think our ODB entry today is asking if we have that “safe place” to go when we feel we need safety or strength.

I know I have that in my wife and with several Christian brothers/sisters. But beyond them, I know that I came here today to be with THE ONE Who is ALWAYS there to give me His strength when I feel weak.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Thanks for lifting me up when I need Your strength. … Amen

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

Friday, October 20, 2017

October 20, 2017 … God’s Glory to Come

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 293 

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 his song … Be Still and Know … Poignantly singing of how we can see and know the best there is to see in this world; and it is a mere reflection of God’s glory to com.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 27:4 [NLT] … 4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, … to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. 
… David’s one desire, … even as his life was in jeopardy.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 27:1-5 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… David, being pursued by Saul, in danger of his life, rests and is uplifted by his relationship with God.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalms 63:1-4 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Again David in the desert turning to God in times of trial.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… No matter what our feelings are telling us we must trust in the hope of our relationship with Christ.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Romans 8:28 [NLT] … 28 And we know that IN ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.
 … Yes, ALL THINGS … NO MATTER WHAT!!

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 2 Corinthians 12: 9 [NLT] … 9 But He [Jesus] said to me [Paul], “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 
… We can ALWAYS rely on God’s grace … no matter how dire the circumstances are.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Dave Branon, used as story about a dying coach to illustrate how God’s grace can work in the worst of circumstances. The ODB author wrote: I love looking at the Grand Canyon [see photo]. Whenever I stand at the canyon rim I see new brushstrokes of God’s handiwork that take my breath away. 
Even though it’s just a (very large) “hole” in the ground, the Grand Canyon causes me to reflect on heaven. A very honest twelve-year-old asked me once, “Won’t heaven be boring? Don’t you think we’ll get tired of praising God all the time?” But if a “hole in the ground” can be so overwhelmingly beautiful we can’t stop looking at it, we can only imagine the joy of one day seeing the very Source of beauty—our loving Creator—in all of the pristine wonder of the new creation.

Certainly David, whose life was threatened as he ran from King Saul in the wilderness, had never seen anything as magnificent as the Grand Canyon at sunset [again, see photo]. But in his life young days David, the shepherd, had seen many wonders … such as his ability to protect the sheep from bears and lions. And he knew of His God’s strength which had allowed him defeat Goliath. And when David’s very life was in jeopardy, His God was the ONLY ONE he sought (as we read in Psalms 27 and 63). 

When things go awry in our lives, do we turn to our Lord and seek God’s glory? I’ve been blessed to see and experience the magnificence of God’s creation, looking up into the Canadian rockies, … or joyously tickling the underbelly of a sting ray in the Caribbean, … or watching the sunset gloriously on the beaches of the French Riviera or Hawaii or Florida, … all sights which proclaim the glory of my God. But none of those things can - or will - approach the glory of what my Lord will put before my eyes in Heaven.

So, today, if I am confronted with ill-begotten challenges, I will, as did David, turn to my faith and hope in my relationship with the Creator of all I’ve ever seen and experienced; … and I will seek to praise my King Jesus!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Today I pray that all reading here join me in hope-filled praise to Your glorious Name, dear Lord. … Amen

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

October 19, 2017 …Using His Power

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 292 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of Steven Curtis Chapmn singing his song … His Strength Is Perfect … Poignantly singing of how we, as Christians, have all the power we need to overcome our selves and the world; … yes, even the power/ploys of Satan.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Romans 7:24-25 [NLT] … 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! 
… Even in our wretched state, God is there as our rescuer and our deliverer.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Romans 7:14-25 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul teaches on the vulnerability of our “flesh” to the ploys of Satan and the world; but shows that In Christ we have the power to defeat sin.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … 2 Corinthians 12:9 [NLT] … 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 
… Prophesy of mourning for the One, the Messiah, Who died for our sins.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Galatians 5:25 [NLT] … 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 
 … Keeping in step and surrendering to God’s Spirit empowers us with His grace.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 2Peter 1:3-4 [NLT] … 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 
… God’s Spirit has given us all the power we need to overcome our evil desires and the corruption of the world.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 1John 4:3-4 [NLT] … 3 …. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
… We, in Christ, have more power than Satan or the world.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Oochiti Dixon, used a personal story of personal failure and weakness to illustrate that we need God’s power to overcome our selves and most certainly the power of the world led by Satan. The ODB author wrote: The loud crackling noise startled me. Recognizing the sound, I raced to the kitchen. I’d accidentally tapped the start button on the empty coffee maker. Unplugging the appliance, I grabbed the handle of the carafe. Then I touched the bottom of the container to ensure it wasn’t too hot to place on the tile counter. The smooth surface burned my fingertips, blistering my tender skin. 
As my husband nursed my wound, I shook my head. I knew the glass would be hot. “I honestly do not know why I touched it,” I said. 

We’re all like that, aren’t we; … doing things we know we shouldn’t do? That’s why Paul used himself as an example of his own human weaknesses or failures in the highlight passage above. But at the end of that vulnerable passage [see v. 24-25], he expresses his thanks that He serves a God who can - and will - provide the power for us to overcome ourselves … and even a Satan-led world.

I love the quote in the attached photo, by motivational speaker, Sonia Ricotti. But I can only ascribe to its meaning as truth if it applies to our surrendering to the power of God’s Spirit to overcome our weaknesses (as Steven Curtis Chapman sings in the linked song today).

Actually, applying the truths of the reference passages above from Gods’ word, we need to recognize, as the Apostle Paul set his attitude right, by proclaiming our victory in Christ in Romans 8 to overcome his (and our) weaknesses in Romans 7. I just pray today that we understand our power in Christ, believe in it, and then surrender to Gods’ Spirit to receive and use His empowering grace today … and on into tomorrow.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … As the old song says, “I surrender all!” And in doing so, give me Your power to overcome my weaknesses. … Amen

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October 18, 2017 …My Sins - His Nails

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 291 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of Gary Chapman explaining the origin and then singing the old hymn … Leave It There … Poignantly singing of how we, as Christians, have the opportunity to take our troubles to the cross and leave them there.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Isaiah 53:4a, 5a [NLT] … 4a Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, … 5a But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities, … 
… WE were the ones who mocked Him, spit on Him, beat Him, and nailed Him to that cross.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Isaiah 53:1-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Isaiah’s prophesy of the Messiah, whose wounds were our sins as He died for our transgressions. 
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Zechariah 12:10-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Prophesy of mourning for the One, the Messiah, Who died for our sins.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Matthew 27:27-35 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… That was you and me who mocked Him, spit on Him, stripped Him, and crucified Him.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, wrote of the pace archeologists and scholars believe Jesus was tortured and nailed to the cross, showing us that as surely as the Roman soldiers did the deed on that day, WE were the ones who nailed our Lord to that tree. The ODB author wrote: After centuries of war and destruction, the modern city of Jerusalem is literally built on its own rubble. During a family visit, we walked the Via Dolorosa (the Way of Sorrow), the route tradition says Jesus followed on His way to the cross. The day was hot, so we paused for a rest and descended to the cool basement of the Convent of the Sisters of Zion. There I was intrigued by the sight of ancient pavement stones unearthed during recent construction—stones etched with games played by Roman soldiers during their idle moments. … 
 I was deeply moved by remembering that near the place I was standing, the Lord was beaten, mocked, insulted, and abused as He took all of my failure and rebellion on Himself. 

My friends, … I’ve been there too. On a trip to the Holy Land several years ago, our group was led down into the grotto mentioned above, … which archeologists/scholars believe was the place where Jesus was mocked and tortured and nailed to the cross. And like the ODB author, I was moved to tears as I looked down to my feet [see my photo] where I was standing … on what were likely the stones where MY SINS mocked my Savior and even nailed Him to that cross.

But then I realized that my Lord endured all of that for ME, … to give ME the opportunity to do what Gary Chapman sings about in the song linked above … to take all my sins and all my failures to the cross and leave them there.

And because of what Jesus endured on those stones where I was standing, my Savior will one day take me - with all of my sinfulness - to enjoy eternity with Him FOREVER! …

Can I share a witness of HALLELUJAH!!!??

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Yes, Lord, 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.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October 17, 2017 …Yielding to The Winds

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 290 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Francesca Battistelli singing … Holy Spirit … Poignantly singing of how God’s Spirit lives and blows us toward our Savior and away from our selves.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1st Thessalonians 5:19, … 24 [NLT] … 19 Do not quench the Spirit. … 24 The One who calls you [i.e., the Holy Spirit] is faithful, and He will do it.
… God’s Spirit, dwelling in us as Christians, bends us and blows us to be faithful to our Lord in the way we live.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st Thessalonians 5:16-24 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul exhorting fellow Christians that they don’t need to be like others … that we can avoid quenching the Holy Spirit.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Luke 9:23 [NLT] … 
23 Then He said to them all [Jesus’ followers]: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. …” 
… If Jesus commands us to deny ourselves, WE CAN!

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 2 Corinthians 5:17 [NLT] … 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here! 
… In Christ we don’t need to give in to self. We can yield to God’s Spirit and become like Christ.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Philippians 2:5 [NLT] … 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: … 
… We can choose to think like our Lord.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, used a painting to illustrate how we, as Chrsitians, need to yield to the Holy Spirit in the decisions we make and the way we live. The ODB author wrote: On a visit to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, I saw a masterpiece called The Wind. The painting showed a storm moving through a wooded area. Tall, thin trees leaned to the left. Bushes thrashed in the same direction. … [See photo] 
In an even more powerful sense, the Holy Spirit is able to sway believers in the direction of God’s goodness and truth. If we go along with the Spirit, we can expect to become more courageous and more loving. 

However, as Francesca Battistelli sings in the linked song for my journal today, we must yield to the Holy Spirit, dwelling in our hearts to allow Him to blow us toward the decisions and choices which God will’s for our lives. It’s the great paradox of Christian living, … that God has actually given us the CHOICE to say “NO” and resist His Spirit; … yes, even when He dwells in the eternal hearts of born-again believers.

That is how we can “quench” God’s Spirit, blowing us toward our Lord’s command to deny our selves and follow Him (see Luke 9:23). But as the Apostle Paul wrote in today’s highlight passage to his beloved Thessalonians, we can yield to winds of God’s Spirit; and like the trees in the painting, we will lean toward our God’s way and His will.

Our choice! … Personally, … when I feel Him blowing me today, I will just follow the direction of the wind.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I yield to Your winds 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, October 16, 2017

October 16, 2017 …For Our Good

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 289 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images s from Laura Story singing her very personal song … Blessings … Poignantly singing of how the trials and challenges and pain of life are likely some of God’s greatest blessings.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Genesis 50:20 [NLT] … 20 You [Joseph’s brothers] intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 
… God’s mercy/grace is showing thru Joseph’s love for his brothers in spite of their intended ill will decades earlier.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Genesis 50:15-20 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Joseph’s brothers had intended their actions against their brother 2 decades earlier for evil God used them for His glory thru the mercy/grace shown by Joseph in sparing his brothers.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Job 2:9-10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK 
… Job was willing - in faith - to accept his trials in spite of the horrible pain/suffering he had to endure.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Matthew 5:14-16 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus taught that we Christians should shine His light into the darkness of the world … no matter the circumstances.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Romans 8:28 [NLT] … 28 And we know that IN ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. 
 … Yes, ALL THINGS !!

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 2 Corinthians 12: 9 [NLT] … 9 But He [Jesus] said to me [Paul], “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 
… God’s grace is ALWAYS enough, … even in the worst of circumstances.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Dave Branon, used as story about a dying coach to illustrate how God’s grace can work in the worst of circumstances. The ODB author wrote: Jay Bufton turned his hospital room into a lighthouse. … The fifty-two-year-old husband, father, high school teacher, and coach was dying of cancer, but his room—Room 5020 [see photo] —became a beacon of hope for friends, family, and hospital workers. 
Because of his joyful attitude and strong faith, nurses wanted to be assigned to Jay. Some even came to see him during off-hours. Even as his once-athletic body was wasting away, he greeted anyone and everyone with a smile and encouragement. One friend said, “Every time I visited Jay he was upbeat, positive, and filled with hope. He was, even while looking cancer and death in the face, living out his faith.” 

The dying coach’s room number (5020) became very significant witness at the coach’s funeral when his friends reflected on how it pointed to the passage in Genesis 50:20 where Joseph exhibited God’s love working thru decades of trials, remembering what Joseph went thru because of his brother’s treachery, … ultimately showing God’s mercy and grace and love in their moment of reunion.

I hope that all reading here have taken in and meditated on all the Scriptures linked/copied above as well as Laura Story singing about how many of God’s greatest blessings come disguised in the most painful and troublesome trials of life. She wrote that song when she and her husband had discovered that he had a life-threatening brain tumor, which now has turned out to be events which have touched the lives of thousands in a positive way from their story.

And today, if any of us are going thru trials, like a Job or a Jay Bufton or a Laura Story, … I pray that we can still shine the light of Christ outward to others from those very dark trials [see Matt. 5:14-16].

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I pray that we all see the hope You have for us as we endure the trials 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.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October 15, 2017 …Stewards of Creation

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 288 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Brian Doerksen singing … Creation Calls … Poignantly singing of how we all need to be aware and preserve all we see in creation, which God has given us, for His glory and our own well-being.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Genesis 1:28 [NLT] … 28 God blessed them [i.e., Adam and Eve] and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” 
… Our charge is clear from God - to take care of what He has created.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Genesis 1:26-31 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God passes along the care of His creation to mankind.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Exodus 23:10-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... God gives His children instructions on the care of His creation.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 19:1, 115:16 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... In song we are declared to declare the glory of Go thru His creation and to care for what He has given us.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Matthew 25:14-30 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
...  If we are to be stewards of all God has given us, we should be caring dearly for His creation.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David Roper, used a fishing illustration to teach on our need, as Christians, to be good stewards of God’s creation. The ODB author wrote: The “big browns” are spawning in the Owyhee River—brown trout beginning their fall nesting ritual. You can see them excavating their nests in the gravelly shallows. [See photo] 
Wise fishermen know that fish are spawning and try not to disturb them. They avoid walking on gravel bars where they might trample the eggs, or wading upstream from the nests where they might dislodge debris that can smother them. And they don’t fish for these trout, though it’s tempting to do so as they rest near their nests. 
These precautions are part of an ethic that governs responsible fishing. But there is a deeper and a better cause. 

And that principle - or “cause” - involves us being good stewards of what God has created for us to manage. In the highlight passage we see that God gave all the good that He had created for Adam and Eve and their progeny (that’s us!) to care for. And we read often in Scripture (see God’s word referenced above), that we are to be stewards of all God gives us. And that’s why you read of conservation-minded fisherman being very careful to care for the spawning grounds of the fish they harvest for food and recreation.

Today we read a lot in the news about ecologically minded people fighting - sometimes violently - to preserve the planet; but unfortunately, though their actions have merit to promote good conservation of nature, their motives are often misguided … and even selfish. We, as Christians, are charged, by our God, to care for any/all that He’s provided for us; and that certainly includes doing all we can to protect and preserve His creation for the well-being of the pinnacle of His creation … and that is mankind.

So, without becoming “tree-huggers” and making nature an idol, let’s just do what God has called us to do, … and that’s to protect this glorious planet for His glory and our well-being.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I pray that we all do all we can to protect what You have provided for us to share and steward in Your name and 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, October 14, 2017

October 14, 2017 … Needing My Hugs Today

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 287 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Gordon Mote singing his song … Hold Me UP … Poignantly singing of how we all need to be held up by the love of our God … everyday we need Him … to hold us up.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 131:2 [NLT] … 2 But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.
… David found the filling for his love hole by pursing His God like a child pursues hugs from a mother.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 131 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… David’s plea, in song, for God’s love.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 63:1-4 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... David, like us, earnestly seeks to find and be with our Lord.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Matthew 18:1-4 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ... 
… As Jesus taught, we need to be like a little child seeking the love of our Heavenly Father.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Ephesians 3:14-21 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ... 
… Paul prays that his fellow Christians (that’s you and me, too!) be rooted in the love of God.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Monica Brands, used a personal illustration of our need, as children of God, to see and receive His love just as a young child seeks the hugs of his/her mother. The ODB author wrote: As I was nearing the end of lunch with my sister and her children one afternoon, my sister told my three-year-old niece, Annica, it was time to get ready for her nap. Her face filled with alarm. “But Aunt Monica did not hold me yet today!” she objected, tears filling her eyes. My sister smiled. “Okay, she may hold you first—how long do you need?” “Five minutes,” she replied. 
As I held my niece [see photo], I was grateful for how, without even trying, she constantly reminds me what it looks like to love and be loved. I think sometimes we forget that our faith journey is one of learning to experience love—God’s love—more fully than we can imagine. 

Wow! … This one touched me, … because, as a young child, my mother had trouble showing her love for me affectionately. In fact I don’t remember ever being hugged by my mother as a young child. And I desperately longed for that closeness.

So, ... when I was introduced to sexual images (i.e, P0RN) when I was 12, I mistakenly felt that it provided me with the love feelings I had missed as a boy; and so I began pursuing those images to provide me with long lost “hugs.” And it led me into an addiction for pursuing this pseudo-intimacy for many years. But finally, I discovered that the love of God comes, in abundance, by pursing a deeper, more abiding, relationship with Christ.

 And so now, this is why you find me here - every morning - getting my morning “hugs” from my Lord by being in this quiet place, sharing this intimate time with my loving Father in prayer and feeling His love coming thru His word. And every day I feel His hugs as He fills me up with His love.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I pray that all reading here have gotten their hugs from You 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.

Friday, October 13, 2017

October 13, 2017 … What’s Your Name?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 286 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Joy Williams singing … Do They See Jesus In Me … Poignantly singing of how we Christians should desire others seeing us, even naming us. Do they call us “Christian?” And do we live up to His Name?


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Highlight Verse[s]: John 1:42 [NLT] … 42 And he [Andrew] brought him [his brother, Simon] to Jesus. … Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter [Aramaic for “rock”]
… Jesus sees character in Peter that even Simon couldn’t see at the time; and the Lord renames him to describe whom Simon would become.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 1:35-42 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus renames Simon, giving him a new name, “Peter,” to reflect the character the Lord saw in this newly found disciple.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Genesis 17:4-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
...  God renames Abram (“exalted father”) to be ABRAHAM (“father of many”).

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Judges 6:11-14 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
...  God sends an angel to charge Gideon with a new character (i.e., name) … that of “mighty warrior,” which Gideon could not recognize in himself.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Matthew 11:29 [NLT] … 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls
… The only place in Scripture where Jesus describes Himself - as gentle (meed) and humble … as “Christians,” can we describe ourselves in this way.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Marvin Williams, wrote about the power of names and descriptors to help us see our identity as “Christians.” The ODB author wrote: In the article “Leading by Naming,” Mark Labberton wrote about the power of a name. He said: “I can still feel the impact of a musical friend who one day called me ‘musical.’ No one had ever called me that. I didn’t really play an instrument. I was no soloist. Yet . . . I instantly felt known and loved. . . . [He] noticed, validated, and appreciated something deeply true about me.” 

Yeah; … What’s your name?! It’s a question people often ask of us when others don’t know us, isn’t it? But when we give them our GIVEN name, the one on our birth certificate, does it really describe who we are, … especially as “Christians?”

Names, especially in the Bible, quite often were used to describe character traits. And nominal adjectives were used to help biblical characters to identify with certain personality characteristics. In the highlight passage, Simon was given a new name, “Peter,” by Jesus to reflect whom he would become later in his life as an Apostle. Abram (see Gen. 17) was given a new name, “Abraham,” by God to reflect whom God saw him become, … “the father of many nations. “ A weakling, Gideon, was called “mighty warrior,” by God’s angel (see Judges 6); and Gideon couldn’t identify with the name. But he later became what that description (i.e., name) described.

Jesus, used only two descriptive adjectives in the NT to describe Himself (see Matt. 11:29); and they were “humble” and “meek.” And if someone calls us a “Christian,” do we see ourselves as being those two character traits? And that’s the primary question asked in the song linked today, isn’t it? … When others see me, … do they see Jesus in me? And am I doing all I can to know my Savior and become like He describes me as His DISCIPLE?

 My friend, ... Jesus call us (if we’re truly “CHRISTIANS”) … “FORGIVEN” … “HOLY” … “BELOVED.” (see photo); … but are we living up to how God sees us?

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me to live today as You describe me. … Amen

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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

October 12, 2017 … Our Good Shepherd

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 285 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Marty Goetz singing his rendition of … The 23rd Psalm … Poignantly singing Jesus becomes the Good Shepherd for us as Christians.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Isaiah 40:11 [NLT] … 11 He (the LORD) tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart; … He gently leads those what have young. 
… God, thru Isaiah, shows a caring Lord who watches over His own as a shepherd over his sheep. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Isaiah 40:6-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet encourages His people (i.e. us) with the good news of our Good Shepherd. 
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 23 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Yes, The LORD, my King Jesus, truly is my Shepherd …

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Isaiah 26:3, 41:10, 53:6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... We find our peace by following our Good Shepherd.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … John 10:14-15 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … 14 “I am the Good Shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me— 15 just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father—and I lay down My life for the sheep. 
… Jesus declares to the Pharisees (and us) that HE IS OUR GOOD SHEPHERD.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 1st Peter 5:7 [NLT] … 7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 
… Peter’s exhortation for Christians to bring all cares to our GOOD SHEPHERD.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, uses a personal story of how our Lord becomes our Good Shepherd when we’re in moments of trial or trouble. The ODB author wrote: I sat in the hospital room with my husband, waiting anxiously. Our young son was having corrective eye surgery and I felt the butterflies jostle in my stomach as I fretted and worried. I tried to pray, asking God to give me His peace. As I leafed through my Bible, I thought about Isaiah 40, so I turned to the familiar passage, wondering if anything fresh would strike me. 
As I read, I caught my breath, for the words from so many years ago reminded me that the Lord “tends his flock like a shepherd” as He “gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (v. 11). In that moment my anxiety left me as I realized the Lord was holding us, leading us, and caring for us. 

And this story very personally illustrates what the Prophet Isaiah was trying to convey to God’s people (and us); … that (as in the highlight passage) we have a GOOD SHEPHERD who will watch over His flock and we can trust in His loving care [see the reference passages].

The questions for me and any reader here today are these: … “Do we have a Good Shepherd … and … do we trust Him to care for us?”

I pray so!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … You are my Good Shepherd; and as Your lamb, I go 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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 11, 2017 … Call On God

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 284 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Gordon Mote singing his song … Hold Me Up … Poignantly singing of how we, as Christians, need to go to God, praying that He would lift us up, sustain us, … even heal us from our condition of humanity and/or our circumstances.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Isaiah 38:4-5 [NLT] … 4 Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5 “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city. 
… God, thru Isaiah, showed King Hezekiah and God had heard his prayer and would heal him of a deadly disease and save God’s city.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Isaiah 38 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet helps King Hezekiah pray for healing from a deadly illness.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 46:1 [NLT] … 1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 
… Who else would we turn to in times of trouble.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 116:1-2 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ... 
… God even bends down to hear our prayers and concerns.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Matthew 11:28 [NLT] … 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. … ” 
… Jesus’ promise of His caring Spirit when we’re in need. … But do we believe Him?

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 1st Peter 5:7 [NLT] … 7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 
… Peter’s exhortation for Christians to bring all cares to our caring God.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Poh Fang Chia, reports an archeological finding which supports the story of King Hezekiah in Isaiah 38. The ODB author wrote: For five years, an ancient clay seal remained in a closet in Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology. After the seal was dug up at the foot of the southern part of Jerusalem’s old city wall, initial examination failed to establish the significance of the nearly 3,000-year-old object. But then a researcher carefully scrutinized the letters on the seal, resulting in a major discovery. The inscription, written in ancient Hebrew, reads: “Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz king of Judah.” 

In Isaiah 38 - see highlight passage - we read of King Hezekiah praying to God for healing from some deadly malady; and God not only promised the King healing and longer life but also to deliver His people and Jerusalem from oppression and danger. And in Hezekiah’s case, God was there to heal and deliver the King and His people.

Now, … one can’t guarantee that God will ALWAYS heal us or deliver us in times of peril or danger; but we do know that He invites us to come to Him when we’re burdened (see Matt. 11:28-30 and 1Peter 5:7]; and that He ALWAYS will hear our cares and concerns [see Psalms 46 and 116]. But do we believe His word, His promises, … His truth? And if so, why do we ever hesitate to ask God to hold us up in times of trial or illness?

Hezekiah certainly didn’t; and I pray that we don’t either!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … As Gordon Mote sings, “Hold us up, Lord!” … Amen

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

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October 10, 2017 … Stay Awake for God’s Glory

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 283 

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 how we, as Christians, need to be aware of God’s glory every moment of every day.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Judges 6:14-16 [NLT] … Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. 
… Christ admonished His church to wake up from a deathly sleep and pay attention to His calling for them.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Revelation 3:1-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Christ’s call for His Church to wake up, come alive, and live in His Name and for His glory. 
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 37:31 [NLT] … 31 The law of their God (i.e., God’s word) is in their hearts; … their feet do not slip. 
… Those who have God’s word deeply implanted in their hearts will stay steadfast to His truth.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 119:9-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... Again, any who have God’s word in their hearts will remain vigilant against sin.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Matthew 26:41 [NLT] … 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 
… Jesus admonishing His Disciples to remain alert and watchful because our flesh is weak and vulnerable against our spiritual enemies.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Ephesians 6:10-13 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … God’s word [i.e., His full armor] helps all Christians to be alert and stand strong against our spiritual enemies.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 1st Peter 5:8 [NLT] … Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 
… Peter’s warning for Christians to remain alert because of a powerful/prowling enemy.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, used a personal illustration to teach on our need, as Christians, to remain alert in the spiritual battles we will face daily. The ODB author wrote: During the years when I traveled frequently and stayed in a different city every night, I always scheduled a wake-up call when I checked into a hotel. Along with a personal alarm, I needed a jangling telephone to help get me out of bed and moving in the morning. 

The ODB illustration and the Scriptures provided today should wake us up to the reality that we need to remain alert - EVERY DAY - to face our spiritual enemies which are powerful and prowling around to take us down. And without the “wake up call” of God’s word every day, even every moment, we can become complacent and fall prey to the devices of Satan.

Jesus warned His Disciples (see Matt. 26:41), when they had fallen asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane, to wake up and remain vigilant because of their weakened flesh. And He warned His Bride, the Church (in today’s highlight passage), to WAKE UP from their (our) deadly complacency … to be able, as Gordon Mote sings, to behold His glory.

My friends, that’s why you find me here - EVERY MORNING - responding to God’s wake up call, by getting into His word and getting His word deeply in my heart, so that I will be alert for my day (each day) where I will go to battle against Satan and his world.

Fellow warrior, have you placed your wake up call today to be alert for today’s battles?

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Being with You, in Your word, this morning, Lord, has me awake and alert so as not to 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.

Monday, October 09, 2017

October 9, 2017 … Fearless Fishing

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 282 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Nichole Nordeman singing her song … Finally Free … Poignantly singing of how we become free in Christ when we’re willing/able to surrender to His sanctifying Spirit.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Judges 6:14-16 [NLT] … 14 The Lord turned to him [Gideon] and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” … 15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” … 16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” 
… When God calls us to serve Him, He will be there for us to carry out His plans. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Judges 6-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Gideon breaks free from his slavery to fear and becomes God’s mighty warrior.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ...
… We must trust in the Lord to lead us in HIS WAY … not to follow our own.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Isaiah 41:10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ...
… We need not fear that God cannot provide for our needs or lift us up in times of trial.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 2nd Corinthians 12: 9-10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul clearly teaches, from Jesus’ own promise, that God’s grace is enough to provide His strength for us in times of weakness.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Anne Cetas, uses a cute story of a young person who wouldn’t fish because of the worms which were used for bait [see photo] The ODB author wrote: It was ten-year-old Cleo’s first time fishing, and as he looked into the container of bait he seemed hesitant to get started. Finally he said to my husband, “Help me, I-S-O-W!” When my husband asked him what the problem was, Cleo responded, “I-S-O-W! I’m scared of worms!” His fear had made him unable to act. 

How many of us choose not to participate in life - even when God calls us to His plans - because of fear of the worms? And today’s ODB took us to the story of Gideon (in Judges 6-7), an OT character who balked at life because of his fears. And Gideon is a Bible figure with whom I personally and strongly identify. Maybe some of my readers do as well.

God came after Gideon, hiding in fear from the cruel/powerful Midianites; and God called him to be the warrior who would defeat this powerful enemy of the Israelites. But Gideon didn’t want to go fishing because of the worms. Well, it didn’t go exactly like that. … But if you’ve read the highlight chapters in Judges, you know that God kept pursuing Gideon; … and the once fear-bound weakling became God’s mighty warrior.

The truths in this story are that God will doggedly pursue those He wants to use; and He will give them anything and everything needed to carry out God’s plans or His calling. And I identify with Gideon because God called me out of my fears and failures to march out in faith and lead a ministry to help men be set free from the fear, shame, and ravages of habitual sexual sin. And when God called me, like Gideon, I felt totally inadequate; but in time God showed me that since He set me free from my past sins, He could - and would - use me to help others walk free from those chains as well. 

So, what is God calling any of us toward today? Or maybe you’re in the midst of that calling but feeling inadequate. Well, God wants us to be, as Nichole Nordeman sings … Finally FREE … and to be His mighty warrior. So, I’m praying we all can break free from our fear of worms today and go fishing for God’s glory.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I’m free by You and now desire to help others be free in Your Name and for Your glory. Let’s go fishing today! … Amen

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

Sunday, October 08, 2017

October 8, 2017 … Way Enough Grace!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 281 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Matt Maher singing … Your Grace Is Enough … Poignantly sining of how God’s grace is enough for God’s children.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 2 Kings 4:43-44 [NLT] … 43 “How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked. …. But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the Lord says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.’” 44 Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord. 
… When God calls us to serve Him, He will provide our needs.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 2 Kings 4:42-44 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God uses what was provided (a few loves of bread) to feed 100 people … to show, thru Elisha, that He provides what His people need.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ...
… We must trust in the Lord to lead us in HIS WAY … not to follow our own.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Isaiah 41:10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... We need not fear that God cannot provide for our needs or lift us up in times of trial.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 2nd Corinthians 12: 9-10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul clearly teaches, from Jesus’ own promise, that God’s grace is enough to provide His strength for us in times of weakness.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Philippians 4:19 [NLT] … 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. 
 … God will provide our needs.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Kristen Holmberg, uses a personal ife example to teach on how God provides for our needs in times of weakness and trial. The ODB author wrote: When my husband and I were first asked to host a small group in our home, my immediate reaction was to decline. I felt inadequate. We didn’t have seats for everyone; our home was small and couldn’t hold many people. I didn’t know whether we had the skills to facilitate the discussion. I worried that I’d be asked to prepare food, something for which I lacked both passion and funds. I didn’t feel like we had “enough” to do it. I didn’t feel I was “enough” to do it. But we wanted to give to God and our community, so despite our fears, we agreed. Over the next five years we found great joy in welcoming the group into our living room. 

I can just imagine several, if not many, fellow readers here identify with this illustration of weakness turned to strength when we step out and trust God to provide what we need. The highlight OT story of God providing the bread for Elisha to feed 100 people is a good biblical example, … along with the NT story of Jesus twice feeding thousands with just a few fishes and loaves [see Matthew 14-15]. 

But the question comes down to whether we truly believe God’s promises to provide His strength and provision in our times of weakness or trial. And are we applying our faith in our lives? … I hope we do! … Because if we don’t, we’re missing out on the truth that God’s calling is His enablement.

I know that I felt totally inadequate to respond to God’s calling to found a ministry to help men walk free from habitual sexual sin. However, when I stepped out in faith, along with my wife, to put together and lead Battle Plan Ministry (see www.battleplanministries.org), He showed us the way to get started 17 years ago; and He’s given us what we’ve needed these years to help scores of men walk from darkness into light in His Name and for His glory.

So, today I'm praying that we all follow Him and know that His grace is truly enough!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help all who read here today, Lord, to trust and follow You no matter how weak or inadequate we feel. … Amen

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

Saturday, October 07, 2017

October 7, 2017 … Aw Common, God, … Really?!!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 280 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group MercyMe singing their song … Even If … with a reflection of how we can - and must - respond when God says “NO!” … for a LONG TIME!!


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Highlight Verse[s]: Habakkuk 1:2a [NLT] … 2a How long, Lord, must I call for help, but You do now listen? … 
… Habakkuk perceives that God isn’t listening.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Habakkuk 1:2-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
 … The confused Prophet, Habakkuk, when God seems to be saying “NO!” over and over again, comes to God with a prayer of depression and desperation.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Habakkuk 3:17-18 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... After quite some time and patience, the Prophet realizes that God was always there and that He can - and WILL - give the patient believer the ability to find joy in the midst of times of trial and sorrow.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 1st Corinthians 10:13 [NLT] … 13 No temptation [or trial] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted [or tried] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, [or tried] He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 
 … Paul teaches that God is ALWAYS faithful to provide us with the way to deal with life, … IF … we’re patient enough to seek it and use it.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 2nd Corinthians 12: 6-10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul had his tough time of pain and sorrow when God said “NO” to his prayers; but he remembered the words of Jesus, reminding the Apostle that God’s grace would be sufficient for Paul to handle the pain and privation.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, uses a life example to teach on letting God into our lives when He needs us for His witness or work. The ODB author wrote: When I married, I thought I would have children immediately. That did not happen, and the pain of infertility brought me to my knees. I often cried out to God, “How long?” I knew God could change my circumstance. Why wasn’t He? 
Are you waiting on God? Are you asking, How long, Lord, before justice prevails in our world? Before there is a cure for cancer? Before I am no longer in debt? 

Ever been in a place/time where you can identify/empathize with those latter questions or … maybe with the Prophet, Habakkuk, in today’s highlight passage, … where he (or you) prayed in a depressed and confused state of mind, not knowing why God seemed so distant and not listening to his/our prayers? Yeah, … you’ve been there, at some time, haven’t you … maybe even now?!

Well, take heart, Habakkuk in the OT and the Apostle Paul in the NT, found that God never abandons the believer [again; look up and meditate on Hebrews 13;5] … even when He just seems far off. But as the group MercyMe sings in the linked song, “Even If” our God seems to be absent/silent, … HE”S NOT! … And when we can patiently have the faith He alone can provide, He will be faithful and provide us with His strength and His way thru the challenges we experience, … even thru the pain (see reference scriptures above). …

EXTRA HELP: If any reader wants more help from Our Daily Bread on this, … go to a video and short teaching by today’s ODB author AT THIS LINK ,,,  

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me, Lord, … to ALWAYS realize the truth of Hebrews 13:5 and Your truth in the reference scriptures 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.

Friday, October 06, 2017

October 6, 2017 … Driving Clearly Ahead

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 279 

Devotional Song:GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group MercyMe singing their song … Dear Younger Me … with a reflection what we glean from God reshaping our lives.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1st Peter 1:3-4 [NLT] … 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 
… Peter on what Christians become in Christ.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st Peter 1:3-9 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Peter reflects on how he and his fellow Christians have been reshaped and look ahead with hope because of what Jesus did for them on the cross.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ... 
… When we totally trust what Christ has done and don’t lean on our own understanding, we become new in Him.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 2nd Corinthians 5:17 [NLT] … 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 
… We become new in Christ.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, uses a life example to teach on letting God into our lives when He needs us for His witness or work. The ODB author wrote: On the way to work, I listened to the song “Dear Younger Me,” which asks: If you could go back, knowing what you know now, what would you tell your younger self? … [Listen with the link provided] … As I listened, I thought about the bits of wisdom I might give my younger, less-wise self. Most of us have thought about how we might do things differently—if only we could do it all over again. 
But the song illustrates that even though we have regrets from our past, all our experiences have shaped who we are. We can’t change the consequences of our choices or sin. Praise God we don’t have to carry the mistakes around with us

Fellow Christian, … have you ever speculated on what you could’ve become if you knew, as a Christian earlier in your life, what you know now? I sure have. I was born again at age 39; and now I’m in my 70s; and if I could’ve known back in my teen and college days what I know and have become now; … Wow! But reflecting like that, as in the linked song today, may be nostalgic - maybe even helpful.

But it won’t change where I am now and where I will go into my future where my Lord is leading me. I’ve often said, in mentoring others, that when we’re driving down the road of life, it’s only productive to use the rear-view mirror for safety purposes. We have to look ahead, thru the windshield, to drive clearly into the future … where Jesus is leading us.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, Precious Spirit … Shine Your light brightly on my road ahead, that I may see clearly where You desire to lead me. … Amen

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

Thursday, October 05, 2017

October 5, 2017 … On the Wings of Love

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 278 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Jeffrey Osborne singing popular … On The Wings of Love … a love song poignantly singing of how two in love must fly high on the wings of their love … but it also is a double entendre of how we fly into eternity on the wings of God’s love.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Deuteronomy 32:10-11 [NLT] … 10 In the desert land He [God] found him (Israel), in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; … He guarded him and cared for him as the apple of His eye. 11 Like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, … that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft. … 
… Moses pictures our God as the Eagle who prepares its young to leave the nest and fly high in freedom.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Deuteronomy 32: 1-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Moses sing his song of God’s deliverance where He has carried them on His wings of love in the past and will carry them, even with their weaknesses into His land of promise.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Isaiah 40:30-31 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
...  The Prophet likens true believers as those who soar on wings of God’s love like eagles.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Hebrews 13:5 [NLT] … 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money (i.e., sin) and be content with what you have because God has said, … “NEVER will I leave you; NEVER will I forsake you.” 
… The author of Hebrews, restating Moses’ word from God to His people in Deut. 31:6, 8 of how our God will never forsake His promises and power for His remnant of believers, i.e., His children.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, uses a life example to teach on letting God into our lives when He needs us for His witness or work. The ODB author wrote: Betty’s daughter arrived home from an overseas trip, feeling unwell. When her pain became unbearable, Betty and her husband took her to the emergency room. The doctors and nurses set to work, and after a few hours one of the nurses said to the parents, “She’s going to be okay! We’re going to take good care of her and get her healed up.” In that moment, Betty and her husband felt peace and love flood over them. They realized that while they hovered over their daughter anxiously, the Lord is the perfect parent who nurtures His children, comforting us in difficult times. 

I’ve always loved the word picture of our God raising and protecting His young (i.e., you & me) like bald eagles, providing for their eaglets and preparing them to leave the nest. And ultimately the parent eagle will take the soft covering from the nest, which is high in the mountains; and the mother eagle literally pushes her young eaglet from the nest; and it plummets toward the ground, unable to fly. But the mother eagle flies under the young bird and catches it, carrying it back to the safety of the nest (see photo). And the mother eagle will do this over and over, as long as necessary, until the young bird flies on its own, never to return to the nest.

And like the eagles, we parents do hover over your young, don’t we, as in the ODB story? But ultimately we prepare our young to fly free on their own. And we Christian parents do that, preparing our kids to believe the truths about God in God’s word (see Is. 40 and Heb. 13. And as Jeffrey Osborne sings in the linked song, we help them to see that they will fly free on the wings of God’s love into His enteral arms of love.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Dear Lord, … I fly high on the wings of Your love. … Amen

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

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

October 4, 2017 … God’s Interruptions

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 277 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from The Gaither Vocal Band singing their song … He Touched Me … poignantly singing of how Jesus pushes, touches, and heals those He had chosen for Glory.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Luke 18:40-41 [NLT] … 40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to Him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” … “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. 
… Perhaps we should be looking for divine interruptions in our “to-do” list during our day to be a witness for Jesus.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Luke 18:35-43 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
 … A divine interruption to Jesus’ schedule brought sight to the faith of a man blind from birth. 
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Matthew 25:37-40 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... We need to be willing to interrupt our “to-do” list and take action when Jesus shows up to allow us to serve Him in the middle of any day He give us.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Luke 9:23 [NLT] … 23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. …” 
… Jesus wants us to be willing to follow Him, even when it interrupts our own “to-do” lists.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Acts 1:8 [NLT] … 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 
… Jesus wants us to be a witness for Him everyday. So, we need to be alert to he times He interrupts our “to-do” list to have opportunities to witness in His Name.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, uses a life example to teach on letting God into our lives when He needs us for His witness or work. The ODB author wrote: Experts agree that a staggering amount of time is consumed each day by interruptions. Whether at work or at home, a phone call or an unexpected visit can easily deflect us from what we feel is our main purpose. 
Not many of us like disruptions in our daily lives, especially when they cause inconvenience or a change of plans [i.e., our “to-do” lists - see photo]. But Jesus treated what appeared to be interruptions in a far different way. … 
When our plans are interrupted by someone who genuinely needs help, we can ask the Lord for wisdom in how to respond with compassion. What we call an interruption may be a divine appointment the Lord has scheduled for that day. 

Today’s highlight passage (see link above) shows us that Jesus had his own divine “to-do” list when we walked about in his three years of ministry; but when God, the Father, “interrupted” Jesus’ walk, as with the blind man in Luke 18, our Lord would stop and give witness and glory to the Father by ministering to the needs of someone who was not on His “to-do” list for that day.

I’ve often said, “If it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s way good enough for me!” So, being the “to-do” list type I am, I’m convicted to be more aware and discerning as to opportunities the Lord puts in my path to be a Luke 9:23 - Acts 1:8 witness for our Lord.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Dear Lord, … Help me to pray for and look for Your divine interruptions and appointments 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.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

October 3, 2017 … Blessing From Crisis 

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 276 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Laura Story singing her song … Blessings … poignantly singing of the difficult reality that many of God’s blessings come in the crises of life.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 57:1 [NLT] … 1 Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in You I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster has passed. 
… In crisis David knew exactly to Whom he should go for protection/provision … to His God! 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 57 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… David running for his life from King Saul prays for deliverance and protection
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… We must trust the Lord for his direction/provision, even when life makes no sense.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Lamentations 3:22-23 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ...
… Since God’s mercies are new every day, we can ALWAYS go to Him for them.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Romans 8:28 [NLT] … 28 And we know that IN ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. 
… God’s truth … no matter what transpires … it is for our good.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Philippians 4:19 [NLT] … 19 And my God will meet ALL YOUR NEEDS according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. 
… Yes, but do we really believe it!

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Tim Gustafson, uses a life example to teach on trusting God for His provision/protection. The ODB author wrote: Marc recalls a moment from his childhood when his father called the family together. Their car had broken down [see photo], and the family would run out of money by the end of the month. Marc’s dad paused and prayed. Then he asked the family to expect God’s answer. 
Today Marc recalls how God’s help arrived in surprising ways. A friend repaired their car; unexpected checks arrived; food showed up at the door. Praising God came easily. But the family’s gratitude had been forged in a crisis. 

When the challenges and circumstances of life don’t make any sense, that’s when it’s toughest to trust in God’s mercy and grace to provide for our needs and see us thru any crisis. And as Laura Story sings her song (linked above), we so often see God’s mercies being disguised in the greatest challenges of life.

Today, as we meditate on the Scriptures provided, we need to ask ourselves if we truly trust God to provide for us and protect us, … even when life becomes so difficult to fathom. Because our God is our Jehovah Jireh, our Provider; and He would never allow anything into the life of a born-again Christian which was not, IN SOME WAY, a blessing. Though to take? ... Certainly! … But truth?! … ABSOLUTELY!! 

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Dear Lord, … When things go against my way, help me to seek You and to see You in the storm. … 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.