Friday, June 30, 2017

June 30, 2017 … Blooming for Him

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 181 

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 beauty of God’s grace as He is willing cover our ugliness with His beauty when we repent and confess of our sins.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Luke 13:8-9 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … 
8 “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. 9 If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’” 
… God’s patience with sinners, desiring that we repent for His saving grace.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Luke 13:1-9 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus’ parable showing God’s patience, giving sinners the opportunity to repent and be saved. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Lamentations 3:22-23 [NLT] … 
22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. 23 Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. 
… God’s mercies are endless.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … John 15:5-6 [NLT] … 
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. 
… Jesus declares how we must abide in Him in obedience to be fruitful.

Reference Passage #3 [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. 
 … He makes us clean any time we’re willing to humble ourselves, in repentance, and confess our sinfulness.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Sheridan Voysey, used a personal story to illustrate that our Lord is so patient and willing to forgive us, cleanse us of our sins, and let us bloom into fruitfulness anytime we’re willing to repent, confess, and receive His grace. The ODB author wrote: Last spring I decided to cut down the rose bush by our back door. In the three years we’d lived in our home, it hadn’t produced many flowers, and its ugly, fruitless branches were now creeping in all directions. 
But life got busy, and my gardening plan got delayed. It was just as well—only a few weeks later that rose bush burst into bloom like I’d never seen before. Hundreds of big white flowers, rich in perfume, hung over the back door, flowed into our yard, and showered the ground with beautiful petals. [See photo] 

Oh how our God desires that His children, we Christians, come to Him, repent, and blossom into fruitfulness. And I pray that all who read here today join me in prayer and action to do just that.

So, hear the linked song today and realize God’s call for us to repent, confess, and to receive His cleansing, redeeming, and restoring grace … so that we, like the roses in the ODB author’s garden, can bloom as witnesses to God’s wondrous grace.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord God, … allow me to be fruitful, blossoming forth as a testimony to Your saving/sanctifying grace. … Amen

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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

June 29, 2017 … Walking the Walk

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 180 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Big Daddy Weave singing a contemporary arrangement of the old hymn … Trust and Obey … powerfully shows the reality of real-deal Christian faith.


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Highlight Verse[s]: James 2:17-18 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … 
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. … 18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” 
… If one can’t see our faith in our actions, our faith is a fraud.
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Highlight Passage [context]: James 2:14-26 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul shows Christians that he, like all of us, struggles to break free from our sin nature.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … 
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. 
… True discipleship - i.e., following Jesus - is faith in action.

Reference Passage #2 [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. …” 
… True discipleship - i.e., following Jesus - is faith in action.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … John 14:21 [NLT] … 
21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” 
… Faith is measured by obedience to God’s commands.

  My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, used a word picture from the sculpturing of Michelangelo to illustrate that God’s Spirit is reshaping Christians into the image of Christ, setting us free from the image of sin. The ODB author wrote: As a friend drove to the grocery store, she noticed a woman walking along the side of the road and felt she should turn the car around and offer her a ride. When she did, she was saddened to hear that the woman didn’t have money for the bus so was walking home many miles in the hot and humid weather. Not only was she making the long journey home, but she had also walked several hours that morning to arrive at work by 4 a.m. 
By offering a ride, my friend put into practice in a modern setting James’s instruction for Christians to live out their faith with their deeds: … 

You may have heard it said; “Those who walk-the-walk, rather than those who talk-the-talk, are the REAL-DEAL Christians.”

Well, when it comes to the down-to-earth Christian faith described by James to the Church of his day and Christians of any day, that about says it all, doesn’t it? … If we can’t do what Jesus said (see Luke 9:23 and John 14:21) and get off our duffs and follow our Lord obediently, our faith is fraud. 

So, if we truly trust and obey, as the song sings today, let’s walk-the-walk of our faith.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … I’m walking toward You, …with you, Lord! Shine Your light brightly on my path. … Amen

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

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

June 28, 2017 … He’s Not Done With Me Yet!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 179 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Michael English singing … He Didn’t Throw the Clay Away … poignantly of how we are the unfinished clay in the Potter’s hands, molding us into the image of Jesus.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Romans 7:24-25 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … 
24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. 
… We’re all “miserable” selves (see also Romans 3:23); but Paul helps us realize that we have victory over self and freedom from sin in the Savior.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Romans 7:14-20 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul shows Christians that he, like all of us, struggles to break free from our sin nature. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … 2nd Corinthians 4:7 [NLT] … 
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 
 … The light of God’s Spirit in our hearts is molding us into the image of the Savior.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Philippians 1:6, 3:14-15 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul learned and shared that his (and our) sanctification would reshape us into Christ’s image; and we can look forward to that completion in Christ.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Peterson, used a word picture from the sculpturing of Michelangelo to illustrate that God’s Spirit is reshaping Christians into the image of Christ, setting us free from the image of sin. The ODB author wrote: At his death, the great artist Michelangelo left many unfinished projects. But four of his sculptures were never meant to be completed. The Bearded Slave, the Atlas Slave, the Awakening Slave, and the Young Slave [see photo], though they appear unfinished, are just as Michelangelo intended them to be. The artist wanted to show what it might feel like to be forever enslaved. 
Rather than sculpting figures in chains, Michelangelo made figures stuck in the very marble out of which they are carved. Bodies emerge from the stone, but not completely. Muscles flex, but the figures are never able to free themselves. 

If any reader has taken the time to take in the OBD author’s word-picture image and heard the linked song by Michael English, I really don’t need to write much here in further explanation, do I?

But we do see that even the Apostle Paul, when he was a mature Christian, had struggles with His own sin nature [see Romans 7]. However, he came to KNOW that He didn’t have to look back at being mired in sin as with the Michelangelo image of the “Young Slave [in the photo]. No, he could (as we can) look forward to being reshaped and completed into the image of our Savior (see the Philippians passages above).

God, the Master Sculpture, will, if we surrender to His hands, mold us into the image of King Jesus, … freed from being mired in hard marble of our sin nature.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord, … Your hands are making me over into my Savior’s image. ... 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, June 27, 2017

June 27, 2017 … Ways to Pray

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 176 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Jaci Velasquexz singing… On My Knees … poignantly singing of the of the place we all should be on a daily basis to let the power of God work thru us.


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Highlight Verse[s]: James 5:16 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … 
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 
… So, why do we hesitate to pray?
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Highlight Passage [context]: James 5:13-18 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God unleashes His power thru humble prayer.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Philippians 4:6-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ...
… And to dampen or avoid the stresses of life, … PRAY!!!

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18 [NLT] … 
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus 
 … Prayer should be a continual attitude of surrender and seeking involving our relationship with Christ.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Anne Cetas, used a clever word-picture to help Christians organize their prayers. The ODB author wrote: Prayer is a conversation with God, not a formula. Yet sometimes we might need to use a “method” to freshen up our prayer time. We can pray the Psalms or other Scriptures (such as The Lord’s Prayer), or use the ACTS method (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication). 
But I recently came across this “Five-Finger Prayer” to use as a guide when praying for others [see photo]: 
… When you fold your hands, the thumb is nearest you. So begin by praying for those closest to you—your loved ones (Phil. 1:3–5). 
… The index finger is the pointer. Pray for those who teach—Bible teachers and preachers, and those who teach children (1 Thess. 5:25). 
… The next finger is the tallest. It reminds you to pray for those in authority over you—national and local leaders, and your supervisor at work (1 Tim. 2:1–2). 
… The fourth finger is usually the weakest. Pray for those who are in trouble or who are suffering (James 5:13–16) 
 … Then comes your little finger. It reminds you of your smallness in relation to God’s greatness. Ask Him to supply your needs (Phil. 4:6, 19). 
But whatever method you use, just talk with your Father. He wants to hear what’s on your heart. 

I think all mature Christians realize and recognize that a disciplined/daily attitude of prayer is necessary for all born-again believers (see 1Thess.5:17). The early church fathers (in the Scriptures above) exhorted Christians to take ALL things to God ALL THE TIME. And the ODB author today presents a clever tool to help us do that.

 The question is WILL WE? … NO, … the real question is JUST HOW MUCH DO WE DESIRE TO TAP INTO GOD’S POWER? … I’ll leave it to you to let my thoughts today, as well as ODB, motivate and direct you in your prayer life.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord, … Every day - as today - I come to you on my knees, as the song today sings, with my “ACTS” of prayer. … Amen

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

Monday, June 26, 2017

June 26, 2017 ... Oh yes ... It's Really Good

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 177 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images of lyrics from Brian Doerkson singing… Creation Calls … poignantly singing of the glory God created for His creations’s peak creation, mankind. … And THEN TO THIS LINK to hear Gordon Mote singing his song, Don’t Let Me Miss the Glory declaring how we need to look around and see the glory God has created for us.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Genesis 1:31 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … 
31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! 
… God declares His creation as REALLY GOOD!!
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Highlight Passage [context]: Genesis 1:24-31 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The declaration of God’s creation, … created just for God’s crowning glory … mankind. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Psalm 19:1 [NLT] … 
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God; and the skies display His craftsmanship. 
… Just look around and see what God created for us!! Let’s not miss His glory.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … John 1:1-3 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… And our Creator, God, made it all for us!

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Alyson Kieda, referred to images all around us to illustrate how God’s greatness is declared in His creation. The ODB author wrote: Some days seem to have a theme running through them. Recently I had one of those days. Our pastor began his sermon on Genesis 1 with two minutes of breathtaking, time-lapse photography of blossoming flowers. Then, at home, a scroll through social media revealed numerous posts of flowers. Later on a walk in the woods, the wildflowers of spring surrounded us—trilliums, marsh marigolds, and wild iris. [see the attached photo] 

With all the ugliness we see on the evening news; and the physical pollution which can surround us at times, we can so often miss God’s BIG PICTURE; and that can be seen when we take the time, as the OBD author depicted or the two songs linked today declare, … that we can look around us, … in the beauty of wildflowers [see photo] … or in the crashing waves on the shoreline, … or, most certainly, in the birth of a baby; and we can see the glory of what God created just for us. And my friends it is as God declared [in today’s highlight passages] … VERY GOOD! … Yes; … it’s REALLY GOOD!!

So, .. how about we all stop and look around us today and consciously see the glory of our God; and then thank Him for His creation.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord, … Thank You for the beauty and glory of what You created … just 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.

June 25, 2017 … Passing On God’s Word

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 176 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of Laura Story singing… Every Word You Breathe … poignantly singing of the power of Gods’ word to shape our lives; … and … THEN TO THIS LINK where Phillips, Craig, and Dean sing I Want To Be Just Like You declaring the must for parents to live out the faith we glean from God’s word as a Holy example of God’s truth for our children.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Deuteronomy 6:6-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … 
6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. … Jesus, THE LORD, served His Disciples by washing their feet. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Deuteronomy 6:1-9 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God instructs His chosen ones to pass along His word to the future generations.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Psalm 119:9-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s instruction in song to saturate one’s mind with God’s truth.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Isaiah 55:11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s word will always have power when it’s used for His purposes in one’s life.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Xochiti Dixon, told a story of church leaders mimicking Jesus washing the feet of His 12 Disciples at the Last Supper. The ODB author wrote: When our son Xavier was a toddler, we took a family trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. As we entered the building, I pointed to a large sculpture suspended from the ceiling. “Look. A humpback whale.” Xavier’s eyes widened. “Enormous,” he said. 
My husband turned to me. “How does he know that word?” “He must have heard us say it.” I shrugged, amazed that our toddler had soaked up vocabulary we’d never intentionally taught him.

Kids were designed by God to be like a sponge when it comes to absorbing His will thru His word; and God, thru Moses [in the highlight passage], charged parents to make sure they soaked their kids in His truth at every opportunity. And He did this because, thru the legacy of parenting, God would pass along the truth of Isaiah 55:11 and Psalm 119:9, 11 [PLEASE meditate on these words!] as our Godly legacy to our children.

In other words, we set up the next generation for spiritual success if we make sure their minds and hearts are saturated with God’s truth from His word [also - on your own - take in Joshua 1:8].

So, we need to ask if. FIRST, we have done all we can to soak our own minds in God’s word; and then, if we, as parents, are we doing all we can to make sure God’s power, thru His word, is being passed along to the young minds of our next generation, … our legacy … and the future of God’s family?

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord, … Thank You for a mentor who drove me to soak completely in Your word which shaped me in Your truth. … Amen

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

Saturday, June 24, 2017

June 24, 2017 … Our Servant King

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 175 

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

June 23, 2017 … In Harmony

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 174 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … Lord, … May I use my gifts for You in Your Body today, tomorrow, and always. … Amen

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

Thursday, June 22, 2017

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

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 173 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017 … Broken Together

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 172 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June 20, 2017 … Just Try A Little Kindness

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 171 

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


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

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

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

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

No brainer, right?!  😇

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 19, 2017

June 19, 2017 … Driven and Determined!!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 170 

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



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

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Luke 9:23 [NLT] … 
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. ..."
… Jesus on what it takes to be His disciple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

June 18, 2017 … Abba Always There

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 169 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 17, 2017

June 17, 2017 … He Hears Me

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 168

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 16, 2017

June 16, 2017 … Made Alive By Grace

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 167

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

June 15, 2017 … In Pursuit of Peace

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 166

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

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

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

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … John 13:34-35 [NLT] … 
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” 
 … Jesus commands us to share love and to be unified in His love.

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

June 14, 2017 … Going With Grace

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 165 

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


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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 11:28-30 [NKJV} … 
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” 
… Jesus invited His followers to yoke ourselves WITH Him, not to work FOR Him. 
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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 11:28-29 [The Message} … 
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” 
… The Message version of the highlight passage.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 11:25-30 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus invites His disciples to walk WITH Him, … not FOR Him.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Luke 9:23 [NLT] … 
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. ..." 
 … Jesus commands His followers to FOLLOW Him, … not to try to outrun Him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 13, 2017 … The Son Shines Thru the Clouds

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 164 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 12, 2017

June 12, 2017 … Nothing Useless

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 163 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, June 11, 2017

June 11, 2017 … The Posture of Our Heart

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 162 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 10, 2017

June 10, 2017 … Helping Others Find Him

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 161 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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