Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July 18, 2017 … Just As You Are …

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 199 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Brian Doerksen singing the old invitational hymn … Just As I Am … poignantly singing of the reality of how God receives any/all into His family … just as we are!

Highlight Verse[s]: Romans 5:6-9 [NLT] … 
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 
… And all we need to receive this love is to come to Him JUST AS WE ARE.
Highlight Passage [context]: Romans 5:1-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Faith in the finished work of Christ brings help to the helpless and salvation to the lost. 

Reference Passage #1 [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. 
… Jesus will come in and fellowship with anyone, anytime, anywhere … and all we have to do, wherever/whenever we are, is open the door to His invitation to come in.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, observed how we often let self-perceptions get in the way of coming to Christ just as we are to be received into His kingdom or to receive his grace. The ODB author wrote: A church in my city has a unique welcome card that captures the love and grace of God for everyone. It says, “If You Are A . . . saint, sinner, loser, winner”—followed by many other terms used to describe struggling people—“alcoholic, hypocrite, cheater, fearful, misfit . . . . You are welcome here.” One of the pastors told me, “We read the card aloud together in our worship services every Sunday.” 
How often we accept labels and allow them to define who we are. And how easily we assign them to others. But God’s grace defies labels because it is rooted in His love, not in our self-perception. Whether we see ourselves as wonderful or terrible, capable or helpless, we can receive eternal life as a gift from Him. 

Has any reader here with me been to an event and was asked to fill out a name tag like the one in the photo to help others know who you are? But the name tag doesn’t really identify us, beyond the label of our name, does it? No, we also need to have another tag which says … “I am __________;” and then, if we’re honest, we’d fill in the blank with the essence of truth about ourselves. Or would we? Really, it’s unlikely; because we so often don’t want others to know who we really are, do we?

On April 13, 1983 I went to work; and if I had honestly filled in the “I am ___” ID, I would have put … “broken addict to P0RN, who needs spiritual strength.” But then, that morning, I actually wore that ID on my soul for my Lord to see me as I was; and when the morning was over I was able to change my name and ID tags to read … “Bill Berry, … born-again saint, redeemed by the blood of King Jesus!” And all I had to do was come to Him, just as Brian Doerksen sing, “Just as I am,” and receive His saving grace.

And really, now, … anywhere, at any time, I can come to Him, just as I am, and open the door at His knocking and let my Lord come in to receive His sanctifying grace (see Rev. 3:20). And I pray that all reading here have that kind of relationship with King Jesus, … a really honest and surrendered attitude which allows our Lord to save or sanctify us as needed when we come to Him just AS WE ARE.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … I’ve heard You knocking this morning, Lord, and I gladly open the door to Your graceful invitation to be with me and give me Your 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.

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