Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 31, 2017 … Beautiful Brokenness

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 151 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Chris McClarney singing … Beauty for Ashes … poignantly singing of the mercy granted by God to those who’re willing to confess with a contrite heart.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 51:17 [NKJV] … 
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken Spirit, a broken and a contrite heart; … These, O God, You will not despise. 
… God looks upon genuine, humble brokenness with His favor.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 51[NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… David’s contrite and humble song of confession, which saved and sanctified his life in the eyes of God.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Psalm 139: 23-24 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
…The Psalmist prays a humble prayer of brokenness … for God to cleanse him of any wickedness.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Lamentations 3:22-23 [NKJV] … 
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. 
… Mercy and God’s saving grace for all who repent and believe in the Lordship of King Jesus.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Matthew 5:3 [NKJV] … 
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ..."
… Jesus teaches that God blesses those who have a broken and surrendered [i.e., “poor”] spirit.

Reference Passage #4 [NKJV] : … 1st John 1:9 [NKJV] … 
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
 … Truth about coming to God with a broken spirit to confess our sins and be cleansed.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, James Banks, uses the description of a type of pottery to illustrate God’s forgiving nature to those who come to Him with a truly contrite heart. The ODB author wrote: Kintsugi is a centuries-old Japanese art of mending broken pottery [see photo]. Gold dust mixed with resin is used to reattach broken pieces or fill in cracks, resulting in a striking bond. Instead of trying to hide the repair, the art makes something beautiful out of brokenness. 

What a good picture of the love, mercy, and grace granted by God to the broken and contrite of spirit, … those who come to the Lord confessing and repenting of their brokenness. And as with the Kintsugi pottery, God fashions renewal and restoration of spirit for the humble and broken who come to Him, as did David after his surrender of the sins of adultery and murder to be healed. Yes, there truly is beauty in brokenness … as Chris McClarney sings in the linked song.

And as the weeping prophet wrote (see Lam. 3:22-23), God’s mercies are new every morning and faithfully doled out to any/all who humbly come to Lord confessing their brokenness (see Matt. 5:3 and 1st John 1:9).

So, I pray we recognize the beauty found in brokenness today and all days; and we’re humbly willing come to God’s throne of grace for His beautiful healing renewal.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … Thank You for fashioning Your beautiful and strengthening grace into the crevices of my brokenness to make me stronger to serve 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, May 30, 2017

May 30, 2017 … Mercy Me!!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 150 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Gordon Mote singing … Mercy Walked In … poignantly singing of the mercy extended by Jesus to any/all, even the guilty, who would repent and receive His grace-filled offer of Salvation.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Luke 18:13 [NKJV] … 
13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 
… Any all sinners can receive God’s mercy when they repent and receive Christ as Lord and Savior. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Luke 18:9-14 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus parable tells of mercy shown to even a hated tax-collector who was repentant for his sin. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … John 3:16-17 [NKJV] … 
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. 
… Mercy and God’s saving grace for all who repent and believe in the Lordship of King Jesus.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … 1st John 1:9 [NKJV] … 
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
Now that’s mercy! 

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Xochitl Dixon, used a personal story to illustrate mercy extended and offered by Jesus and then mercy received by those who need it. The ODB author wrote: When I complained that a friend’s choices were leading her deeper into sin and how her actions affected me, the woman I prayed with weekly placed her hand over mine. “Let’s pray for all of us.” 
I frowned. “All of us?” 
“Yes,” she said. “Aren’t you the one who always says Jesus sets our standard of holiness, so we shouldn’t compare our sins to the sins of others?” 
“That truth hurts a little,” I said, “but you’re right. My judgmental attitude and spiritual pride are no better or worse than her sins.” 
“And by talking about your friend, we’re gossiping. So—” “We’re sinning.” 
I lowered my head. “Please, pray for us.” 

Yes, … mercy, … even for me, a sinner who didn’t deserve His grace; but just as the tax-collector in the Luke 18 parable, my Lord freely pursued ME, a flagrant sinner, and when I repented of my sin, He poured out His saving grace to me to save me from myself. Oh, MERCY ME!!!

And my friend, I pray that any reading here have repented of your sin and found the mercy that King Jesus offers to any of us today. And if you have, I pray that we all lift our praises to the One Who died and shed His blood so that we could Have His mercy and grace … day-by-day (see 1st John 1:9) … now … and FOREVER!!!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … I have been freed from myself to serve You, King Jesus. … 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.

Monday, May 29, 2017

May 29, 2017 … Really Committed !!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 149 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Clay Crosse, Bebe Winans, and Bob Carlisle singing … I Will Follow Christ … poignantly singing of the commitment that it takes to surrender self to the Savior and make Him the Lord of our lives.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 6:1 [NKJV] … 
1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. ..."
… Do we do our good for self or for the Savior?
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 6:1-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus demands total surrender and commitment to worship Him … and Him alone! 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Luke 9:23 [NKJV] … 
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me…. “ 
… Jesus demands denial of self to follow Him as a disciple.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Romans 12:1-2 [NKJV] … 1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
… Paul’s exhortation to commitment and surrender of self as a living sacrifice for our Lord.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Randy Kilgore, uses the example of the commitment of the Guards of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery to teach on the commitment necessary to be a disciple of Christ. The ODB author wrote: I’ve always been impressed by the solemn, magnificent simplicity of the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The carefully choreographed event is a moving tribute to soldiers whose names—and sacrifice—are “known but to God.” Equally moving are the private moments of steady pacing when the crowds are gone: back and forth, hour after hour, day by day, in even the worst weather. 
In September 2003, Hurricane Isabel was bearing down on Washington, DC, and the guards were told they could seek shelter during the worst of the storm. Surprising almost no one, the guards refused! They unselfishly stood their post to honor their fallen comrades even in the face of a hurricane. 

Perhaps you’ve been to Arlington National Cemetery and have seen the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. It’s impressive, … especially when you realize that these committed soldiers wouldn’t let a driving rain storm (see photo), or even a hurricane, deter them from their duties to guard this national monument.

And after hearing the linked song and taking in the scriptures above, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that Jesus demands the same kind of commitment to follow Him as do these soldiers to guard that tomb; … TOTAL SURRENDER AND SELF-SACRIFICE, … just like the Apostle Paul exhorted fellow Christians in Romans 12:1-2.

So, I don’t know about my fellow readers here, but I need to surrender more of myself to my Lord today … and as I’m called on to follow Him in the future.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … today I’m more committed than ever to follow You and prayerfully every day even more hence forth. … Amen

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

Sunday, May 28, 2017

May 28, 2017 … One Little Sparrow

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 148 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Lauryn Hill and Tanya Blount singing … His Eye Is On the Sparrow … poignantly singing of the reality of the value God places on all who know Him as Lord and Savior.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 10:29-31 [NKJV] … 
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 
… Jesus teaches on the value of all who believe on Him as Lord, no matter what we may be going thru as God’s children here on earth.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 10:28-33 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… In God’s eyes, our value is as strong as our faith in Him who made us.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Psalm 116:15 [NKJV] … 
16 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. 
… Even in the indignity of death our value to God shines forth brightly … at least to Him.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … John 11:25-26 [NKJV] … 
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 
… Jesus confirms the value of all who love and serve Him, no matter what their circumstances may be in this life. And to answer His question, … YES I BELIEVE THIS!!

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 1st Corinthians 15:54-58 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Even the indignity of death has no victory over me - or anyone who is in Christ.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Tim Gustafson, teaches on the seeming indignity of death; but in the face of death, the author emphasizes our value as children of God to our Savior. The ODB author wrote: My mother, so dignified and proper her entire life, now lay in a hospice bed, held captive by debilitating age. Struggling for breath, her declining condition contradicted the gorgeous spring day that danced invitingly on the other side of the windowpane. 
All the emotional preparation in the world cannot sufficiently brace us for the stark reality of goodbye. Death is such an indignity! I thought. 
 I diverted my gaze to the birdfeeder outside the window. A grosbeak flitted close to help itself to some seed. Instantly a familiar phrase popped into my mind: “Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it” (Matt. 10:29 nlt). Jesus had said that to His disciples as He gave them marching orders for a mission to Judea, but the principle applies to all of us. “You are worth more than many sparrows,” He told them (v. 31).

Yes, death can many times seemingly rob our human dignity and can even, at times, seem cruel, even as it was for the small sparrow depicted in the attached photo. But when death seems to rob mankind of our dignity, we need to remember what Jesus taught His disciples about death, … that it was just a stepping stone to be with Him in heaven; and He values the lives of His saints so much that He was willing to give up His life for us.

I remember my mother waking from a coma, just hours before she died, and telling me at her hospital bedside the last words we ever heard from her, … “Oh, I’m so tired, … I just want to go be with Jesus.” And not having known whether my mom was saved, those words, as she fell back into her coma, I believe, was God’s way of telling me, … “Don’t worry, Bill, I’ve got this; … she’s mine!” And in that moment I realized what Jesus was teaching His disciples about our value to Him, even in the indignity of death.

Yes, my friends, as the linked song conveys, “His eye is on the sparrow, but I know He watches me.”

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … thank You for what even a sparrow means to You, … and with me, here today, knowing how much I mean to You today and forever. … Amen

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

Saturday, May 27, 2017

May 27, 2017 … Broken Vessel Under Repair

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 147 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Hillsong United singing … Broken Vessels … poignantly singing of the reality of our Lord mending our brokenness to use us as His vessels of light. … And THEN ON TO THIS LINK with Queen Latifah singing the song Fix Me Jesus singing a prayer for Jesus to repair our brokenness so that we might be used for His glory.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Romans 3:23-24 [NKJV] … 
23 … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, … 
… Truth about the brokenness of mankind and the redemption found in Christ.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Romans 3:10-26 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, declares the brokenness of mankind and the need for a Redeemed. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Isaiah 53:6 [NKJV] … 
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; …we have turned, everyone, to his own way; and the Lord as laid on HIM the iniquity of us all. 
… No matter what rough waters we face in life, God is there to help us thru.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … 2nd Corinthians 5:17 [NKJV] … 
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 
… Our brokenness is made new in/thru Christ.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Philippians 1:6 [NKJV] … 
6 … being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; … 
… God’s repair job on my brokenness will one day be complete.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David McCasland, teaches on the dysfunction (i.e., the brokenness) of mankind and our need for a redeemer. The ODB author wrote: The word “dysfunctional” is often used to describe individuals, families, relationships, organizations, and even governments. While functional means it’s in proper working order, dysfunctional is the opposite—it’s broken, not working properly, unable to do what it was designed to do. 

As Hillsong sings, we’re all broken vessels, aren’t we, … “dysfunctional” by nature as the ODB entry teaches today? But the blessed truth is that in and thru Christ we can, as Queen Latifah sings in the latter linked song, be fixed. And when we have the Holy Spirit residing in our hearts, as born-again believers, He will, as the Apostle Paul wrote, make us new and refashion us into a completed vessel in Christ’s image [see 2Cor. 5:17 and Phil. 1:6].

Now that’s WAY COOL [!!]; … and it’s what I pray for today, …

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … Fix this broken vessel and use me to carry your living water to others. … Amen

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

Friday, May 26, 2017

May 26, 2017 … In the Eye of the Storm

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 146 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of lyrics from Ryan Stevenson singing … Eye of the Storm … powerfully singing of the reality we Christians can find in our relationship with Christ when the storms of life engulfs us.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1st Chronicles 28:20 [NKJV] … 
20 And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord. 
… Solomon gets encouragement from God thru his father to carry out the instructions of God to build His Temple.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st Chronicles 29:9-20 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… King David turns over the awesome task of building God’s Temple to his son, Solomon, who must’ve been overwhelmed by the task.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Isaiah 41:10 [NKJV] … 
10 “Fear not, for I AM with you; be not dismayed, for I AM your God. I will strengthen you, … Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My mighty right hand. 
… No matter what rough waters we face in life, God is there to help us thru.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Luke 8:22-25 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… As long as we’re in the boat with Jesus, we must have faith that He is in control.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 1st Corinthians 10:13 [NKJV] … 
13 No temptation [also translated “TRIAL”] has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted [or tried] beyond what you are able, but with the temptation [or trial] will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 
… God is faithful to lead or carry us thru any temptation/trial.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Joe Stowell, tells a personal story to illustrate the rough waters in life we often must navigate which test our faith in our relationship with Christ The ODB author wrote: I was enjoying the start of my first whitewater rafting experience—until I heard the roar of the rapids up ahead. My emotions were flooded with feelings of uncertainty, fear, and insecurity at the same time. Riding through the whitewater was a first-rate, white-knuckle experience! And then, suddenly, it was over. The guide in the back of the raft had navigated us through. I was safe—at least until the next set of rapids.  
Transitions in our lives can be like whitewater experiences. The inevitable leaps from one season of life to the next—college to career, changing jobs, living with parents to living alone or with a spouse, career to retirement, youth to old age—are all marked by uncertainty and insecurity.  

I think it’s pretty easy to see how this word picture applies to our lives, can’t we? Certainly we’ve all faced trials in life which seem like the roughest of whitewater rafting; … or maybe like those rough waters faced by Jesus and His disciples in the storm described in Luke 8 (see link). But like Jesus’ Disciples in that boat, we need to realize that Jesus is in the boat with us; and we need to have the faith described centuries earlier by Isaiah when God’s people were sinking in their self-induced storm of sinfulness (see Isaiah 41:10).

In these storms or rough waters of life, we need to have the faith described by Paul to fellow believers, exhorting them (us) to remember that God will always be faithful to lead or help us thru any trial in life (see 1st Cor. 10:13). And when we do come thru the rough waters, as Ryan Stevenson sings in the linked song, we’ll find that God is ALWAYS in control.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … Help us face this patch of rough waters with the faith that You will carry us thru. … Amen

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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

May 25, 2017 … Jealous! Who, Me?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 145 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of lyrics from Guy Penrod singing … Count Your Blessings … poignantly singing of God’s prescription for envy and strife.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1st Samuel 18:8-9 [NKJV] … 
8 Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 So Saul eyed David from that day forward. 
… Saul surrendering to jealousy allowed Satan an in-road to his mind/heart concerning David.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st Samuel 18:5-15 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… King Saul became jealous of young David; and jealousy caused God’s Spirit to leave the King. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Exodus 20:17 [NKJV] … 
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” 
… The last, and most difficult, to observe from God’s TOP TEN list of commands.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Proverbs 10:6 [NKJV] … 
6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous. But violence covers the mouth of the wicked 
… God, thru Solomon, blesses those heart of the righteous; but curses the lives of those who live wicked, selfish lives.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Isaiah 26:3 [NKJV] … 
3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. 
… If we focus on self and our own wants, we’ll never have peace of mind/heart.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Alyson Kieda, tells a personal story to illustrate how we all can let jealousy come between our relationship with God. The ODB author wrote: I gladly agreed to babysit my grandkids while their parents went out for the evening. After hugs, I asked the boys what they did over the weekend. (Both had separate adventures.) Bridger, age three, recounted breathlessly how he got to stay overnight with his aunt and uncle—and he had ice cream and rode a carousel and watched a movie! 
Next it was five-year-old Samuel’s turn. When asked what he did, he said, “Camping.” “Did you have fun?” I asked. “Not so much,” he answered forlornly. Samuel experienced the age-old feeling of jealousy. He forgot how much fun he had camping with his dad when he heard his brother excitedly tell about his weekend. 

Jealousy or envy have been pictured (see photo) as the “green-eyed monster,” … a character trait we all, as sinners, exhibit at times. And God’s commandment against this monstrous trait is the last on His list of 10 Commandments [see Exod. 20:17]; and I think it’s listed last on God’s top 10 because it’s likely the most difficult for man to abide by. As in the OBD story above, even little kids easily and often exhibit selfish envy of others. And if you’re a parent or grandparent, you’ve seen this trait of envy express itself in the little ones.

And it was the one character trait which brought King Saul down with his jealousy of young David (see highlight passages). So, … how do we, as Christians, combat this very pervasive human tendency?

Well, if you listen to the linked song and meditate on the reference scriptures above, God’s prescription against envy and jealousy is our choosing to focus on God, rather than self (see Isaiah 26:3) and then, as Guy Penrod sings, choosing to dwell on our gratefulness to God rather than on our selfish desires.

Good plan for today [and all days], don’t you think?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … Help me to focus on Your many blessings rather than on my desires. You’ve given me so much, especially shedding Your blood for my salvation. … Amen

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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May 24, 2017 … Do I Look Like Him?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 144 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing … I Want To Be Just Like You … poignantly singing of the desire for all of us to become just like Jesus.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 2 Corinthians 3:18 [NKJV] … 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 
… When others see us, do they see God’s glory - from His Spirit - shining from us? 
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Highlight Passage [context]: 2nd Corinthians 3:17-4:2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul teaches on how we must let the light of Christ shine from our lives so that others can see our Lord in the way we live.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Galatians 5:22-23 [NKJV] … 
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 
… When others see me, do they see these characteristics of Christlikeness?

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Philippians 2:5-7 [NKJV] … 
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 
… Others should see the mind of Christ in what we, as Christians, think, say, and do.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Dave Branon, uses an interesting word picture to show us how we should be showing forth the transformation being made in us by God’s Spirit, presenting Christlikeness to the world. The ODB author wrote: They say we all have one: Doppelgangers some call them. Lookalikes. People unrelated to us who look very much like us. Mine happens to be a star in the music field. When I attended one of his concerts, I got a lot of double takes from fellow fans during intermission. But alas, I am no James Taylor when it comes to singing and strumming a guitar. We just happen to look alike [see photo of James Taylor lookalike above].  

I really don’t know if there’s anyone out there who looks like me. For their sake, I certainly hope not? … {;>) … But I do know that I strongly desire, as a Christian, that others see me as a Doppelganger, a lookalike, for Jesus. As the linked song poignantly sings, I want others to see Jesus in me, … especially in the eyes of my family and dear ones, like you (i.e, fellow Christians). And most certainly, when non-believers see me, I do so pray that they somehow can see me wearing Christ’s robes of righteousness as the Holy Spirit transform me, like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, into the image of my Savior, … flying free from my past life of sin.

And today I was led, by Paul’s teaching in the Scriptures above, to do a self inventory, asking myself if the image of CHRISTLIKENESS, can be seen in the way I live … i.e., in what I think, say, and do. And I do so pray that today I can bear sweeter fruit (see Gal. 5:22-23) for others to see and feel Christ in me.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … Again I pray that You help me to be more like You today than yesterday … and even more tomorrow than today. … Amen

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

May 23, 2017 … Combatting Angst and Anger

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 143 

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


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

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

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Ephesians 4:29 [NKJV] … 
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 
… God never wants us to use angry words to respond to the anger of others.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017 … In The Blink of An Eye

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 142 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Avalon singing … He’s Everything To Me … poignantly singing of how our God, no matter how many different ways He describes Himself in God’s word, is truly EVERYTHING to me.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Yes Lord, You are my everything! … Amen

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

May 21, 2017 … Clearly Seeing God

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 141 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

May 20, 2017 … The Right Road

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 140 

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


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

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

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Luke 9:23 [NLT] … 
23 Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. …” 
… Following Jesus is ALWAYS the right road in life.

Reference Passage #4 [NKJV] : … 2 Corinthians 12:9 [NLT] … 
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 
… When choosing the right road is hard, we know that God’s grace will help us follow Him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 19, 2017

May 19, 2017 … Train Up A Child

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 139 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

May 18, 2017 … Wearing His Robes

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 138 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, I pray that I’m cleansed and covered by Your robes so that others see You in me … not me in me! … Amen

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

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 17, 2017 … Inspirational Faith

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 137 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Steve Green singing … Find us Faithful … poignantly singing of the faithfulness of Christians, many of whom died for their faith, can inspire others to see the One True God.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Daniel 6:26-27 [NLT} … USE THIS LINK
… Because of Daniel’s faith in the lion’s den, King Darius, came to see and believe the power of the one true God.
============== Highlight Passage [context]: Daniel 6:19-28 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Daniel’s faithful stand inspired the Persian King, Darius, to believe in God.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … John 16:33 [NLT] … 
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” 
… Satan’s world will come against Christians; but we must believe that Christ has overcome the world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

May 16, 2017 … A Real-Deal Friend

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 136 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 15, 2017

May 15, 2017 … His Word Is Forever

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 135 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 14, 2017

May 14, 2017 … Seeds Well Nourished

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 134 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear Lord, … Thank You for raising me from seedling to fruitfulness for Your glory. … Amen

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

Saturday, May 13, 2017

May 13, 2017 … Glimpses Of His Glory

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 133 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 12, 2017

May 12, 2017 … God’s Spirit Presence

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 132 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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