Wednesday, August 16, 2017

August 16, 2017 … Fear or Faith?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 228 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Mia Fieldes singing her song … Fearless … a song repeated from my journal entry yesterday, poignantly singing of how we, as Christians, much choose where we are going to let God lead us forward or retreat in fear to the enemy.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Numbers 14:9 [NLT] … 
9 Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” 
… God’s people had a choice to follow their faith or retreat in fear. We have the same choice everyday as Christians.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Numbers 13:25-14:9 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Before entering God’s promised land, His people rebelled and balked at Moses’ leadership, choosing to follow fear rather than yielding to their faith in God.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Joshua 24:15 [NLT] … 
15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” 
 … Joshua had a choice as to Whom he and his family would serve. We have the same choice today!

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Faith is always a measure of our trust in God, … fear, almost always, shows our faith in following our spiritual enemies.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … 2 Timothy 1:7 [NLT] … 
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 
… Any time we FEEL fearful at a choice that seems right in our faith, that CANNOT be from God, … but rather from Satan.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, used a personal story to illustrate how we can often let feelings of fear lead us in the wrong direction. The ODB author wrote: “My husband was offered a promotion in another country, but I feared leaving our home, so he reluctantly declined the offer,” my friend shared with me. She explained how apprehension over such a big change kept her from embracing a new adventure, and that she sometimes wondered what they missed in not moving. 

I’m not a betting man, but I would almost wager that any/all of us have been in places, as Christians, as pictured in the photo, where we’re faced with a choice of following our fears or our faith. I’m sure any reader here with me has a personal example, maybe even one we’re facing today.

The Israelites, in today’s highlight passage, had such a choice just before entering God’s promised land of milk and honey; but they balked and wanted to go back to Egypt and slavery. Certainly we can see that they were being led by fear rather than faith. Later, when Joshua was leading God’s people in the promised land, he told the people [see Joshua 24:15] they were going to have to choose the God (or gods) they would follow; but he stated clearly that He would follow his faith in God.

And we read from Paul, mentoring the new preacher/leader, Timothy, telling him (and us) that when we have feelings (i.e., a spirit) of fear, … that this ALWAYS comes from something other than our God, Who would NEVER give us a spirit of fear.

So, many days, … perhaps today, … we’re going to be faced with a fear verses faith challenge; and we’re going to have to decide which road we’re going to follow. I pray it will be the road of faith we follow ... and become, as Mia Fieldes again sings [link above repeated from my blog yesterday], … FEARLESS.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Help me to follow my faith in You and avoid responding to my feelings of fear. … 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, August 15, 2017

August 15, 2017 … Wings of Protection

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 227 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Mia Fieldes singing her song … Fearless … poignantly singing of how we can deal with the trials life without fear because of God’s protective wings.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 91:4 [NLT] … 
4 “He (our God) will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. 
… David uses a strong word picture of God’s protection for the righteous.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 91 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… King David shows his fearless attitude as he prays for God’s refuge and protection
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Psalm 17:4-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… King David is clear as to whom and why God provides His wings of protection.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Isaiah 26:3 [NLT] … 
3 You (God) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all those whose thoughts are fixed on you!  
… We all look for peace, don’t we? Well, here’s where to look!

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … Isaiah 41:10 [NLT] … 
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand. 
… We can be fearless (hear today’s song) with God lifting us up.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Linda Washington used an apt word picture from nature to illustrate God’s protective wings covering those who trust Him and rely upon Him. The ODB author wrote: When I think of protection, I don’t automatically think of a bird’s feathers. Though a bird’s feathers might seem like a flimsy form of protection, there is more to them than meets the eye. 
Bird feathers are an amazing example of God’s design. Feathers have a smooth part and a fluffy part. The smooth part of the feather has stiff barbs with tiny hooks that lock together like the prongs of a zipper. The fluffy part keeps a bird warm. Together both parts of the feather protect the bird from wind and rain. But many baby birds are covered in a fluffy down and their feathers haven’t fully developed. So a mother bird has to cover them in the nest with her own feathers to protect them from wind and rain. 

King David used this word picture too in two of His psalms [see the links to Psalms 17 and 91 [above, especially Ps. 91], where he liked God’s protection to the wings of a mama bird [see photo]. And the Prophet Isaiah also showed readers of God’s truth how God will provide peace and protection to those who trust in God’s wings of protection (see Isaiah 26:3 and 41:10 passages).

And most certainly there are times when we need the FEARLESS nature sung my Mia Fieldes in the linked sing. But, I know quite often it’s difficult to see God’s wings covering us in times of peril or fearful situations. The news these days is full of fearful images of potential danger; but we who are in Christ need to pray the truth of Psalm 91 back to a God Who desires to cover us with His wings of protection.

Yes, today!!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Your words from King David give me peace in times of trouble and trial, Lord. … Amen

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

Monday, August 14, 2017

August 14, 2017 … Loving the Kids

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 226 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from an anonymous chorus of children singing … Jesus Loves the Little Sining … poignantly singing of just how much God loves children.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 18:5-6 [NLT] … 
5 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf[a] is welcoming me. 6 But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. …” 
… Jesus loved the little children and severely warned against treating them badly. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 18:1-10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus makes it very clear that He loved children and that we, His disciples, needed to have attitudes of faith like a child to inherit the kingdom of God.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Matthew 19:13-15 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus rebukes [esp. v. 14] His disciples as they tried to shield him from the children; and once again (see Matt. 18 above) He showed his deep love for children.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … James 1:27 [NLT] … 
27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. 
… Our faith can only be genuine IF we have a heart to protect and provide for widows and children, especially the orphans.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Bill Crowder used an historical illustration to teach on Christians caring for children as a measure of the reality of our faith. The ODB author wrote: Thomas Barnado entered the London Hospital medical school in 1865, dreaming of life as a medical missionary in China. Barnado soon discovered a desperate need in his own front yard—the many homeless children living and dying on the streets of London. Barnado determined to do something about this horrendous situation. Developing homes for destitute children in London’s east end, Barnado rescued some 60,000 boys and girls from poverty and possible early death. Theologian and pastor John Stott said, “Today we might call him the patron saint of street kids.”

I’ve actually had people, who think of themselves as “progressive” thinkers, argue that since the Bible doesn’t condemn abortion outright that we, who call ourselves “Christian conservatives,” shouldn’t come down so harshly against it. And the argument always hinges on how one defines “children,” doesn’t it? Because if one defines an unborn fetus as an actual “CHILD,” then Jesus’ attitude and description of how we should view a “child” speaks forcefully against abortion.

In the Scriptures from Matthew 18 and 19 above, we read how Jesus rebuked anyone, including His disciples, against hindering any “CHILD” from being able to come to Him, saying that only those who came to Him so humbly as a “CHILD” will inherit the kingdom of God.  So, if one defines a fetus as a “child,” as I believe it is, then we must NEVER do anything to inhibit that child from being able to come to Jesus.

The argument is really that simple!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … May we do all we can to let the little children come to You and may we come to You with the attitude of a child. … 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, August 13, 2017

August 13, 2017 … Fear or Faith?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 225 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Cece Winans singing … His Strength Is Perfect … poignantly singing of how God is always there to give us His strength when our strength is seemingly gone.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Habakkuk 3:19 [NLT] … 
19 The sovereign Lord is my strength! 
… We should be grateful in all things.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Habakkuk 3:16-19 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet gained the faith to overcome his fear and was able to sustain his joy amidst trying, even disastrous, circumstances.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Isaiah 41:10 [NLT] … 
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. 
… But do we believe it?

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Romans 8:28 [NLT] … 
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 
… One of God’s toughest truths to live out when we’re confronted by dire circumstances.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … 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. 
… In the midst of painful circumstances, Paul remembered Jesus’ words.

Reference Passage #4 [NLT] : … 2 Timothy 1:7 [NLT] … 
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 
… Feelings of fear CAN NEVER come from God.

  My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Karen Wolfe used a personal story to illustrate how fear can sometimes blunt or block our faith. The ODB author wrote: The doctor’s words landed in her heart with a thud. It was cancer. Her world stopped as she thought of her husband and children. They had prayed diligently, hoping for a different outcome. What would they do? With tears streaming down her face, she said softly, “God, this is beyond our control. Please be our strength.” 
What do we do when the prognosis is devastating, when our circumstances are beyond our control? Where do we turn when the outlook seems hopeless? 

My favorite OT character is the Prophet, Habakkuk. I so identify with his vulnerability and willingness to take his fears to God, which he did in the opening chapter of his poetic journal. And like the word picture in the ODB entry above, God, like the doctor, gave Habakkuk a very bad prognosis. And tho the Prophet didn’t want to hear God’s words, he finally realized that God was in control; and that God loved him and His people in spite of the impending horror. And, as one reads in Hab. 3:16-19, Habakkuk came to a place where he trusted God and was able to hold on to his faith in the midst of the fearful times.

If my readers today have taken the time to meditate on the linked song and the truths from God’s word above, we, who are in Christ, should realize that a spirit of (i.e., feelings) of fear NEVER come from God. Such feelings of fear are only provoked by our spiritual enemies and part of a default of our sin nature. But in Christ, as the song declares [and we read in 2Cor. 12:9], God’s strength is able to supplant our fears in the midst of trying times and give us the strength to live on in faith [see Isaiah 41:10 and 2Tim. 1:7].

My Prayer Today:   Abba Father, … King Jesus, … I Your strength today, Lord!   … Amen

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

Saturday, August 12, 2017

August 12, 2017 … It’s ALL His!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 224 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Amy Grant singing the old song … Count Your Blessings … poignantly singing of how we need to keep our lives in perspective by remembering God’s many blessings.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Deuteronomy 8:10 [NLT] … 
10 When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 
… We should be grateful in all things.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Deuteronomy 8:6-18 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Moses exhorts God’s people, about to enter the Promised Land, to be grateful for His providence and provisions.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Deuteronomy 8:17-18 [NLT] … 
17 He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath. 
… Remembering that without God we are nothing.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Romans 15:5 [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. 
… Jesus is clear to His disciples (i.e., you and me) that without Him we can not be fruitful.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … Philippians 4:6-7, 19 [NLT] ... USE THIS LINK
… Paul on how to eliminate worry and remember that it is GOD Who supplies ALL of our needs in/for Christ.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Cindy Hess Kasper used a personal story to teach on how we need to be grateful for God’s providence. The ODB author wrote: In Australia, it can take hours to drive between towns and fatigue can lead to accidents. So at busy holiday times rest stops are set up on major highways with volunteers offering free coffee. My wife, Merryn, and I grew to enjoy these stops during our long drives there. 
On one trip, we pulled in and walked over to order our coffee. An attendant handed the two cups over, and then asked me for two dollars. I asked why. She pointed to the small print on the sign. At this stop, only the driver got free coffee; you had to pay for passengers. Annoyed, I told her this was false advertising, paid the two dollars, and walked off. Back at the car, Merryn pointed out my error: I had turned a gift into an entitlement and become ungrateful for what I received. She was right. 

Oh how we’ve become a culture of selfish entitlement and a world of needless worry. And we forget Who supplies everything and watches over everyone. And if we take in today’s linked song and the Scriptures above, perhaps we all need to so - as I did this morning - taking inventory and being grateful - REALLY GRATEFUL - for all that God has done in our lives.

And beyond that, … we need to surrender to the reality that God created all - and controls all - for HIS glory, not ours. It’s all His!

And if we can do that, … everything will fall back into perspective and we can quit worrying.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … It’s all Yours, Lord … for Your good glory and for my well being as Your child. … 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, August 11, 2017

August 11, 2017 …”If I’d Only ___”

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 223 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of song and lyrics from Keith and Kristen Getty singing their song … By Faith … poignantly singing of the steadfast faith it takes to follow Christ and share Him with a lost and dying world.


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Highlight Verse[s]: John 11:27 [NLT] … 
27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed You are the Messiah, the Son of God, the One who has come into the world from God.” 
… Martha takes her eye off of herself and her grieve to see Jesus for Whom He really is, … her Messiah.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 11:21-35 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Martha and Mary, grieving the loss of Lazarus, show differing degrees of faith in their Lord and Messiah.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … 
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. 
… But do we really trust Him?    

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Romans 8:28 [NLT] … 
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 
… The Bible says it; so it’s true. But do we have the faith to believe it … and live it?!

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … Hebrews 13:5 [NLT] … 
5 “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” 
… A quote by the Author of Hebrews from Deut. 31:6,8 and Joshua 1:5 clearly stating that we must look in faith beyond our circumstances and believe God will always be there for the believer.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Cindy Hess Kasper used a personal story to teach on faith in the midst of trials. The ODB author wrote: As we exited the parking lot, my husband slowed the car to wait for a young woman riding her bike. When Tom nodded to indicate she could go first, she smiled, waved, and rode on. Moments later, the driver from a parked SUV threw his door open, knocking the young bicyclist to the pavement. Her legs bleeding, she cried as she examined her bent-up bike. 
Later, we reflected on the accident: If only we had made her wait . . . If only the driver had looked before opening his door. If only . . . Difficulties catch us up in a cycle of second-guessing ourselves. If only I had known my child was with teens who were drinking . . . If only we had found the cancer earlier . . . 

Quite often we have trouble seeing the world thru the eyes of faith in Christ because we’re blinded by regrets, … the “IF I”D ONLY”s in our life. … Or we let the dire circumstances in which we find ourselves blind ourselves to the One Who has saved us. This was the case for Martha and Mary, who, in the highlight passage, were both saying to Jesus, ”If ONLY”. They felt that if He had been there, their brother, Lazarus, would not have died. But he did die; and their grief was so great that they had trouble seeing Jesus as the One they believed Him to be … their Messiah. But He was there for them and with them as Messiah; and He showed them that their faith was not in vain.

Perhaps readers here can identify with the “If I’d only” regrets that the OBD author writes about, … the regrets or doubts which hold us back from the faith sung about by the Getty’s in the linked song. But if we believe the reference Scriptures to be true (AND THEY ARE!!), then we need to muster up the faith God gives us and realize that He’ll lever abandon us … AND … all He does or allows is for our good as believers in our Lord as Messiah.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … You’re ALWAYS here watching over my life. … Amen

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

August 10, 2017 … Is He Smiling?!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 222 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Don Men and a chorus leading in worship and singing … Shine, Jesus, Shine … worshipfully singing of our desire to live for the shining love of Christ.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 80:3, 7, 19 [NLT] … 
3, 7, 19  Make Your face shine down upon us (your people, Lord) … 
… Three times in this song the Psalmist repeats his desire to have God smile on His people. ==============
Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 80 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Asaph, King David’s choir director, writes of his desire that God smile down on His people. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Psalm 116, 2 [NLT] … 
2 Be He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I breath! 
… Knowing that God bends down to hear us, can we imagine that He’s smiling when He does.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT ] : … 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.” 
… I believe Jesus smiles thru our hearts when we show our love to Him thru our obedience.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT ] : … 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. 
… I believe Jesus smiles thru our hearts when we show our love to Him thru our obedience.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Dave Roper, used a clever poker illustration to write about God’s view of our lives. The ODB author wrote: I remember my father’s face. It was hard to read. He was a kind man, but stoic and self-contained. As a child, I often searched his face, looking for a smile or other show of affection. Faces are us. A frown, a sullen look, a smile, and crinkly eyes reveal what we feel about others. Our faces are our “tell.” 

A “tell” in playing poker, is when a player’s face reveals his hand. And I think many reading here can remember the joy of seeing our father or mother smile, revealing their “hand” (or attitude) when we did something that pleased them. And so, can you imagine doing something that you just KNOW causes our Lord to smile (see photo)”

So, what can we do that makes Jesus smile? I’m sure you can list some things … like praying to Him with a humble/contrite heart [as in the highlight passage], … like being obedient to His commands even when it’s tough to do so [see John 14:21], … and like denying our self and closely following Him (see Luke 9:23).

So, what does that say to us [and certainly to me]? Well, it asks me what I’m going to do today to see my Lord’s “TELL” of a smile?

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … May I live today to make You smile! … 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, August 09, 2017

August 9, 2017 … Giving My All?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 221 

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 leading in worship and singing … Lord I Offer My Life To You … poignantly singing of our willingness to give our all just as Jesus offered up Himself for us.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Exodus 32:32 [NLT] … 
32 But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, erase my name from the record you have written!” 
… Moses praying to God and willing to give his life for the lives of God’s sinful people. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Exodus 32:31-32 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Moses was willing to give his all to save God’s people.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Romans 9:2-3 [NLT] … 
2 My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief 3 for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. 
… The Apostle Paul willing to give his all for God’s people.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT ] : … Philippians 2:3-5 [NLT] … 
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. … 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 
… The Apostle Paul encouraging God’s people to be willing to be like Christ and give of ourselves as Christ was willing to give His all for all.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Mart DeHaan, used a story of a journalists regrets as he was release from captivity. The ODB author wrote: An Australian journalist who spent 400 days in an Egyptian jail expressed mixed emotions when he was released. While admitting his relief, he said he accepted his freedom with incredible concern for the friends he was leaving behind. He said he found it extremely hard to say goodbye to fellow reporters who had been arrested and jailed with him—not knowing how much longer they were going to be held. 

As I take in the ODB illustration and God’s truth from His word, also above; … and than I take in deeply the linked song for today, sung by Hillsong United, I’m challenged as well as convicted. If I was given the challenge of offering up my life for any others in need, would I? … Certainly that’s a no brainer if you ask me to offer up my life for my wife, or our daughters, or our grandkids; … but would I be willing to do that for another Christian; or even tougher, … as Jesus taught in HIs sermon on the Mount, … would I be willing to offer my life for my enemy?

In the safety of my home, here in this quiet time with God this morning, I would pray that I would be such a Christian, as Paul exhorted in Phil. 2:3-5, … willing, as my Lord did, to offer up my life for others.

But in a pinch, would I? … I hope so!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … You have offered up Your life for mine. Help me to be willing/able to do the same for 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.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

August 8, 2017 … My Way or His?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 220 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of the lyrics as Frank Sinatra sings his signatures song … My Way … which, to me, is the anthem for this generation of entitlement. AND THEN USE THIS LINK with the lyrics to John Waller singing, As For Me And My House, poignantly sining of Joshua’s wish as to his service to His God.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Mark 10:45 [NLT] … 
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 declared very clearly what He was all about … serving others.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Mark 10:42-52 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus was available to all that would become like Him … serving others.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Joshua 24:15 [NLT] … 15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” 
 … Joshua made his choice. But whom will we choose to serve … self or the Savior …

Reference Passage #2 [NLT ] : … John 13:12-17 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus gives a personal lesson in service by washing the feet of His Disciples.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT ] : … Philippians 2:3-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle Paul exhorted fellow Christians to become like Jesus, humbling Himself to serve others … just as we should do as well.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, used some current facts to illustrate how we’ve become a culture of entitlement, desiring to worship idol rather than choosing to serve our Lord. The ODB author wrote: In today’s celebrity-obsessed culture, it isn’t surprising that entrepreneurs are marketing “celebrities as products . . . allowing them to sell their personal time and attention.” Vauhini Vara’s article in The New Yorker noted that for $15,000, you can have a personal meeting with singer Shakira, while $12,000 will give you and eleven guests lunch with celebrity chef Michael Chiarello at his estate. 

Personally I think few would deny that we, here in the USA, have evolved (or rather, “devolved”) into a culture of entitlement, seeking to serve self first, rather than choosing to become like Jesus and serve others. Frank Sinatra’s signature song, My Way (linked above), could be the anthem for this generation of Americans.

But Jesus calls His disciples (and that includes all Christians) to become like Him, serving others first (see Phil. 2:3-8), … just as He illustrated for His inner twelve by washing their feet (John 13:12-17).

So, are you as convicted as I am today, taking in John Waller’s song and the Scriptures here? Personally, i can do more to serve my Lord; … how about you?”

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Help me to become more like You, Lord, … choosing to serve others more than myself. … 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, August 07, 2017

August 7, 2017 … Abundant Living

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 219 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Dennis Jernigan and Natalie Grant singing Dennis' song … You Are My All In All … poignantly singing of how a Christian can live the abundant life ... by being willing to and striving toward giving one's all to/for Christ. AND THEN USE THIS LINK  with the lyrics to Big Daddy Weave singing a contemporary version of the old hymn, Trust and Obey, where we hear in song of the only way to live “happy in Jesus,” … i.e., the abundant life He promises.


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Highlight Verse[s]: John 10:10 [NLT] … 
10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. 
… Jesus wants us to have His promise of abundant life.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 10:9-10[NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus clearly states His desire that His followers avoid the pitfalls of Satan and come to Him for His promise of abundant life.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Mark 10:17-31 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… In HIs ministry to others, Jesus clearly points to the reality that attaining eternal, completely abundant, life will cost much ... but it's SO WORTH IT!

Reference Passage #2 [NLT ] : … Matthew 5:3-12 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus lays out the kingdom (and heavenly) blessings which are promised to all who follow Him as surrendered disciples; and to me, it's well worth the cost to obey and follow our Lord.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT ] : … 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' demands of His disciples are costly and tough to follow with the temptations of the world; but when we do ... abundant life is ours (see John 10:10 above).

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Monica Brands, used a personal story to illustrate how we humans try to motivate ourselves to live, in our perception, a more abundant life. The ODB author wrote: When I stopped by to visit my sister’s family, my nephews eagerly showed me their new chore system, a set of Choropoly boards. Each colorful electronic board keeps track of their chores. [See attached photo] 
 A job well done means the kids can hit a green button, which adds points to their “spending” account. A misdeed like leaving the back door open results in a fine being deducted from the total. Since a high-points total leads to exciting rewards such as computer time—and misdeeds deduct from that total—my nephews are now unusually motivated to do their work and to keep the door closed! 

As a parent, and now a grandparent, we always found that constructive parental “bribery” goes a long way to motivating our kiddos to follow our commands. And quite often we'd find that they would do so much for their reward, … even though it was tough for them to follow thru with what they knew we demanded of them.

But also quite often, the promised rewards from us, their earthly parents, were not enough to overcome the temptations offered by the world to young ones, ... rewards which can seem to be oh, so appealing to the flesh. And Jesus encountered that with the rich young man (in Mark 10), who couldn't overcome Jesus' demands of His disciples to surrender all to Him. The cost of discipleship to this young man was just too much; and he was unable to follow Jesus.

What Jesus promises often is very, very costly; but if we truly believe Him, the outcome is WAY WORTH IT, isn't it?! It's that faith thing that is the hang up. The eternal "bribe" (really God’s "reward") is really incredible; but we've got to be able to overcome our own flesh and natural selfishness to take up our cross daily and follow our Heavenly parent and Lord (see Luke 9:23).  The question is ... WILL WE?!  

In other words, ... is, as the first song relates above, Jesus our all in all?  Do we really seek His promised abundant life (John 10:10) by doing what Big Daddy Weave sings … by trusting and obeying all that He models and all that He commands of us as His disciples?

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … I pray that all who read here are following our Lord and experiencing at least some of the “abundant life” He promises. … 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, August 05, 2017

August 6, 2017 … Reflecting His Light

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 218 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Joy Williams singing her song … Do They See Jesus In Me … poignantly singing of how a Christian can reflect the light of Christ into the world for others to see Him in the way we live.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Exodus 34:29 [NLT] … 
29 When Moses came down Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant because he had spoken to the Lord. 
… How much do we radiate God’s glory in what we think, say, and do?
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Highlight Passage [context]: Exodus 34:29-35 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… When Moses spent time alone with God on the mountain, he radiated the glory of God to others. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … 2nd Corinthians 3:7-11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul points to how much more we, infused with the New Covenant in Christ’s power, should radiate God’s glory in our lives than did Moses with the Old Covenant’s power.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … 2nd Corinthians 5:17 [NLT] … 
17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 
 … The newness of Christ should radiate outward in the way we live our lives as born-again, transformed Christians.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Matthew 5:14-16 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus expects those who’re born-again to shine His light into this very dark world.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Xochiti Dixon, used a very personal story to illustrate how her mother radiated God’s love and Spirit, even in the face of cancer and impending death. The ODB author wrote: I had the privilege of serving as my mom’s caregiver during her treatments at a live-in cancer care center. Even on her hardest days, she read Scripture and prayed for others before getting out of bed. She spent time with Jesus daily, expressing her faith through her dependence on God, her kind deeds, and her desire to encourage and pray for others. Never realizing how much her smiling face glowed with the Lord’s loving grace, she shared God’s love with the people around her until the day He called her home to heaven. 

Self exam time; … and I’m asking myself, … just how much do I radiate God’s love and grace, as did the mother of the ODB author? … Do others see the glow of Christ radiating from my life? … I think not as much as I’d like … and probably not as much as He’d like!

The linked song today certainly reflects that self examination; and I think we all should do that inventory today, don’t you?

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … I pray that I will shine more of Your light or image for others to see You lighting our way 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.

August 5, 2017 … Grace Given Forward

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 217 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics the group Unspoken singing their song … Call It Grace … poignantly singing of God’s grace which pours into the life of a surrendered/receptive Christian saving and sanctifying us for God’s glory.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Colossians 4:6 [NLT] … 
6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. 
… Paul, on being an agent of God’s grace in the way relate to others.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Colossians 4:2-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, instructs Christians on passing His grace on in the way we speak and share our lives with others.
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Reference Passage #1 [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. 
… We shouldn’t say anything unless it provides grace to the hearer.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Philippians 2:3-4 [NLT] … 
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 
 … And that’s God’s grace being shared with others.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 1st Peter 3:15 [NLT] … 
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, … 
… As Christians we’re always to be ready to share Christ with others … but ALWAYS with grace.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, used a Christians sports figure to illustrate how we, as disciples of Christ, must be agents of grace to others. The ODB author wrote: The US Masters Golf Tournament began in 1934, and since then only three players have won it two years in a row. On April 10, 2016, it appeared that twenty-two-year-old Jordan Spieth would become the fourth. But he faltered on the last nine holes and finished in a tie for second. Despite his disappointing loss, Spieth was gracious toward tournament champion Danny Willett, congratulating him on his victory and on the birth of his first child, something “more important than golf.” 
Writing in The New York Times, Karen Krouse said, “It takes grace to see the big picture so soon after having to sit through a trophy ceremony and watch someone else have his photograph taken.” Krouse continued, “Spieth’s ball-striking was off all week, but his character emerged unscathed.” 

I’m a rabid golf fan. And I revel in following the exploits of Jordan Spieth, a very young champion, who is an unashamed and outspoken Christian. And I was watching on TV that day when the awards ceremony for the most prestigious of all golf tournaments took place. And though having been greatly disappointment by his loss to Danny Willett that day, Spieth’s grace in defeat shouted out God’s grace loudly that day in the so-called “Green Jacket” victory ceremony. Jordan graciously presented the victory jacket to the winner of that year’s Master’s winner [see attached photo], humbly congratulating his opponent. It was a magnificent display of Godly grace.

God’s word (see Scripture above) is clear on what we are to do, as Christians, with regard to our speech and actions in this graceless and darkened world. We, as disciples of Christ, are to speak and act like Jesus did to His enemies and detractors in His day … with grace.

So, … let’s all go forth as open/obvious agents of God’s grace as we interact with others today.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Help me to speak forth and give out Your grace to any/all I encounter 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, August 03, 2017

August 4, 2017 … Tested for Glory

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 216 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics the group Mercy Me singing their song … Even If … poignantly singing of reality of the trials of God when God seems so far away … that the fires of life produce the purity of our character.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 66:10 [NLT] … 1
0 you have tested us, O God; … You have purified us like silver. 
… The key to God’s peace is trustfully focusing on our relationship with our Lord. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 66:8-12 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist sings of God testing His beloved to bring them the abundant life.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Job 23:10 [NLT] … 
10 But He (the Lord) knows where I am going; and when He tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
… With all that Job went thru, He still maintained faith in His Lord to purify him thru the testing.

Reference Passage #2 [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.” 
… Jesus actually promises His Disciples that they (we) will have many trials in this world; but He also promises that He has overcome the world.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … James 1:12 [NLT] … 
12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 
… Jesus’ brother, James, also exhorted persecuted Christians to see the trial of life as a test which will produce the crown of royalty.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, James Banks, used an apt word picture about this life which accurately pictures the way many of us feel a lot of the time. The ODB author wrote: My training for the long-distance race was going badly [see photo], and the latest run was particularly disappointing. I walked half the time and even had to sit down at one point. It felt like I had failed a mini-test. 
Then I remembered that this was the whole point of training. It was not a test to pass, nor was there a grade I had to achieve. Rather, it was something I simply had to go through, again and again, to improve my endurance. 
Perhaps you feel bad about a trial you are facing. God allows us to undergo these times of testing to toughen our spiritual muscles and endurance. He teaches us to rely on Him, and purifies us to be holy, so that we become more like Christ. 

If you’ve taken in the linked song and the word picture painted by the OBD author above, as well as the truths of the Scriptures, there’s really not much need for me to comment further, is there? This message is clear; isn’t it?

And what we need to do is to relish in the reality that our God has overcome the fires of this life; and EVEN IF (as the song sings) we are thrown into the cauldron of life as Christians, all the flames will do is purify us for glory.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … I find joy in my trials, knowing that they are to prepare me for my eternity with 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.

August 3, 2017 … Stillness and Peace

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 215 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics Steven Curtis Chapman singing his song … Be Still and Know … poignantly singing of how we capture the peace of God


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Highlight Verse[s]: Isaiah 26:3 [NLT] … 
3 You (Lord) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, … all whose thoughts are fixed on You! … The key to God’s peace is trustfully focusing on our relationship with our Lord.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Isaiah 26:1-9 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet assures God’s people, threatened by invasion, that they will be covered by God’s peace as long as they be still and focus on their faith in Him.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Matthew 11:28 [NLT] … 
Then Jesus said (to His anxious followers), “Come to Me, all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. … 
… Jesus offers His help to carry our worries; but are we willing to receive His help?

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … John 14:27 [NLT] … 
27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. 
… But do we really believe our Lord … and then live as if it is true?

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Philippians 4:6-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, offers us His prescription for anxiety … but do we take it and use it when we’re worried?

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, James Banks, used an apt word picture about this life which accurately pictures the way many of us feel a lot of the time. The ODB author wrote: When I was six years old I rode a roller coaster for the first time with my older brothers. As soon as we hit a turn at a high speed [see photo] I started to yell: “Stop this thing right now! I want to get off!” Of course the roller coaster didn’t stop, and I had to “white knuckle” it, hanging on tight for the rest of the ride. 
Sometimes life can feel like an unwanted roller coaster ride, with “downhill” drops and hairpin curves we never see coming. When unexpected difficulties occur, the Bible reminds us that our best recourse is to place our trust in God. 

Ever been on that rollercoaster in life? I have; and the unwanted thrill rides in life can so often take our focus off of our relationship with God and the promises He offers of His peace. I really don’t need to write much to clarify what God says above in His word, offering His disciples His peace when, as Steven Curtis Chapman sings, “we be still and know (i.e., trust) that He is God.” Because as the Prophet Isaiah taught God’s people, we can have His peace when we focus on Him in faith rather than dwelling in our fears.

Our choice, isn’t it? … Personally, that’s why I’m here everyday, getting closer and more focused on my Lord and His promises so that when I’m thrown onto the rollercoaster of life I’ll be able to ride it with joy rather than the terror of my own anxiety.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … build my trust and the peace I find thru Your word when I encounter the rollercoaster rides in life. … Amen

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

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

August 2, 2017 … Our Pride … His Love

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 214 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics Wayne Watson singing … Love Found A Way … poignantly singing of God’s merciful way - thru His love - to defeat the sin and pride mankind had brought into the garden and the world.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1st John 3:16 [NLT] … 
16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 
… But are we willing to reflect God’s love into the world by loving others?
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st John 3:11-18 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… John relates the essence of God’s love and our reciprocation of that love to/for others. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … John 3:16 [NLT] … I hope you know this one! … … God’s love … so great; … but is ours?

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Mark 10:45 [NLT] … 
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 speaking of His own love for mankind, expressed thru His service to His beloved; … even unto death for us.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Philippians 2:3-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle teaching on how we must express the attitude of Christ thru our humility and love for others … reflecting the sacrificial love Christ had for us.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Tim Gustafson, used a story of a prideful professor who realized he must humble himself to be able to teach his students. The ODB author wrote: Horrified by his students’ poor writing habits, renowned author and college professor David Foster Wallace considered how he might improve their skills. That’s when a startling question confronted him. The professor had to ask himself why a student would listen to someone “as smug, narrow, self-righteous, [and] condescending” as he was. He knew he had a problem with pride. 
That professor could and did change, but he could never become one of his students. Yet when Jesus came to Earth, He showed us what humility looks like by becoming one of us. Stepping across all kinds of boundaries, Jesus made Himself at home everywhere by serving, teaching, and doing the will of His Father. 

And that’s what today’s highlight passage proclaimed about the essence of God’s love; and it’s what the Apostle Paul taught we must do as Christians … to humble ourselves and serve others (see Phil. 2:3-8) … just as Jesus did so for mankind, … setting aside His glory to become one of us and then die for us.

But are we willing to die to self and humbly serve others? I pray so today.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … help me to set aside any pride and humbly serve others in Your Name and for Your glory. … Amen

Blogger Note:  Posted on 8/1/17 due to travel schedule ... wrb

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.

August 1, 2017 … Hope From Our Brokenness

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 213 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from the video of Crystal Lewis & Ron Kenoly singing … Beauty for Ashes … poignantly singing of God’s reality of producing His glory from the brokenness of life.


{For images on Nozomi Jewelry - GO TO THIS ARTICLE LINK}

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Highlight Verse[s]: 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. 
… We are like broken clay pots with the light of Christ shining from us into a darkened world. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: 2nd Corinthians 4 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul encourages Christians to look past our weakness or brokenness because of the hope we have in Christ.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … 2nd Corinthians 11:30, 12:9-10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Once more, the Apostle encourages Christians who are weakened or struggling in brokenness.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Elisa Morgan, used true story of jewelry crafted from broken shards from the brokenness produced by a devastating earthquake in Nozomi, Japan. The ODB author wrote: In 2011, a magnitude 9 earthquake and a resulting tsunami took nearly 19,000 lives and destroyed 230,000 homes in the region northeast of Tokyo. In its aftermath, The Nozomi Project, named for the Japanese word for “hope,” was born to provide sustainable income, community, dignity, and hope in a God who provides. Nozomi women sift through the rubble of homes and furnishings to discover broken china shards [see photo] that they sand and insert into fittings to form jewelry. The jewelry is sold around the world, providing a livelihood for the women while sharing symbols of their faith in Christ. 

What a lovely word picture of how God can take our brokenness and turn it into His glory. The Nozomi Project jewelry is called “shards of hope,” describing, as the linked video sings, beauty from the ashes of life. And it’s just as the Apostle Paul was picturing to the early church with his image that, in Christ, we Christians are like broken pots of clay (see 2Corinthians, Chapter 4) with Christ’s light shining thru our brokenness to light up a darkened world. And Paul in his own state of brokenness wrote (see 2Cor. 11-12 links) of how God’s grace turns our brokenness - our weakness - into His glory.

 So, those of us in Christ need not despair of our state of brokenness, trusting that God will shine His light of hope thru His repair of our brokenness.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … shine thru this broken pot, dear Lord. … Amen

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