Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October 31, 2017 … Jesus is MY LORD!!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 304 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video from the group Third Day singing … Blessed Assurance …poignantly singing the old hymn about how we can KNOW that we know that Jesus is ours - FOREVER!


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Highlight Verse[s]: Romans 10:9, …13 [NLT] … 9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. … 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 
… Paul quotes from the OT [Joel 2:32] to show that anyone who believes in his heart that Jesus died for sinners and declares it openly is saved.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Romans 10:9-13 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle lays out God’s truth on what it takes to be saved.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … 1st John 5:13 [NLT] … 13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 
… The Apostle John wrote this letter to help anyone KNOW that they are saved.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Dave Branon, told of a lovely older sister in Christ who illustrates the joy one can have KNOWING that they are saved. The ODB author wrote: Ruth cannot tell her story without tears. In her mid-eighties and unable to get around much anymore, Ruth may not appear to be a central figure in our church’s life. She depends on others for rides, and because she lives alone she doesn’t have a huge circle of influence. 
But when she tells us her story of salvation—as she does often—Ruth stands out as a remarkable example of God’s grace. [See Photo]

If you’ve ever been around a joy-filled Christian like the woman in the photo, you can just see the confidence they have in knowing that they are saved. But the opposite can also be the case. … Some time ago I had a friend ask to meet me for lunch. When I met him, he was in tears, telling me that he doubted his salvation.

So, I asked him if he believed the Bible was true, to which he responded, “Absolutely!” Well, I had a Bible APP on my cell phone so I pulled up the highlight passage from Romans 10:9-13; and I had him read that passage. When he did, I again asked him if he knew that these words were true. Again he reiterated his confidence in God’s truth. … So, I asked him two more questions … [See below]. …

... Do you believe that you’re a sinner? … He said, “Well, of course!”
... Do you REALLY, … STRONGLY, … believe that Jesus died and was raised from the dead to save sinners, including you? … He said, “Yes!”

Well, I had my friend read the Romans 10 passage again; and I told him, “Since you know that to be true and you just openly confessed believing that Jesus died to save you from your sinfulness, God’s word just declared that you are saved; and no matter how much you might doubt that, … IT IS TRUE!” … His whole countenance changed from grief to joy.

One other thing I told him to do was to go read and meditate on John’s letter to Christians in the book of 1st John, which was written by the Apostle to help Christians KNOW, … beyond doubt, … that they were saved.

So, if any reader here runs into someone who doubts their salvation, perhaps you might use this approach to help them have the blessed assurance sung by Third Day in the linked song. … But if they can’t say “YES” to the questions I raised above, perhaps you can share your testimony with them about your joy in knowing that you are saved. And perhaps that will help lead them to God’s saving grace.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Thank You, Lord, for the joy, like Ruth in the photo, of knowing that You have saved me. … Amen

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

Monday, October 30, 2017

October 30, 2017 … Our Direction Finder

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 303 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video from the group Mercy Me singing … Word Of God Speak …poignantly singing of a prayer to hear God speak to us through His wondrous word.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 119:97, …104 [NLT] … 97 Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long. … 104 Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life. 
… Being in God’s word and having God’s word in us keeps us on track in life.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 119:97-104 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist reveals how he unravels the mysteries of life … thru God’s word.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Joshua 1:8 [NLT] … 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 
… God reveals to Joshua (and to us) how he (we) can be successful in carrying out God’s will. It’s God’s prescription for spiritual success!!

Reference Passage [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. 
 … And where do we go to rely on God’s instruction and find His will; … His word, of course!

Reference Passage [NLT] : … John 15:5-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus made it clear to His disciples (and to you and me) that we can only be fruitful as God’s children when/if we remain true to His commandments, … i.e., His word.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Charles C McCasland, told of a very personal story to illustrate how our trust in built in God as we abide more intimately in him. The ODB author wrote: I have always enjoyed the wit and insight of Peanuts creator, Charles Schulz. One of my favorite cartoons drawn by him appeared in a book about young people in the church. It shows a young man holding a Bible as he tells a friend on the phone, “I think I’ve made one of the first steps toward unraveling the mysteries of the Old Testament . . . I’m starting to read it!” (Teen-Ager Is Not a Disease). [See Photo]

I think the author of the wildly popular cartoon, Peanuts, nailed a truth here, don’t you? And it’s the same message the Psalmist who wrote the highlight passage in Psalm 119:97-104 coveted so very personally and coveys in that poem of truth. And what does that message say to any of us?

Well, I’ll leave that to you readers and the Holy Spirit; … but to me, … it says the same thing God instructed Moses about carrying out God’s will [see Joshua 1:8] … that we’ll only be successful in knowing and following God’s will if we remain in His word … “day and night.”

My friend that’s why I’m here … into God’s word to start each day. It’s why I’ve internalized so much of my Bible (thru study and memorization). It’s why I use His word to get to know my God more intimately day-by-day-by-day. And it’s why I use God’s truth (i.e., the Bible) as my spiritual “GPS.”

Sure, … prayer and being among other Godly Christians, as we serve our Lord, is important to grow in our abiding relationship with Christ. But nothing … NO, NOTHING {!!} … is as effective to know and abide in Christ as we come to know and follow Him thru His word. So, if you come back here tomorrow morning, you’ll find me back here again [God willing!], trying to do the same thing the author of Psalm 119 did, … and that is to glean the clear path thru life from the direction God’s provides from His word.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Thank You, Lord, for the perfect “GPS” You give me thru Your word. … Amen

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

Sunday, October 29, 2017

October 29, 2017 … NO MATTER WHAT!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 302 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video from three friends, Clay Crosse, Bob Carlisle, and BeBe Winans singing … I Will Follow Christ … triumphantly singing of the faith commitment to follow Christ … NO MATTER WHAT!!!


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Highlight Verse[s]: Deuteronomy 1:21 [NLT] … 21 Look! He [our God] has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!’ 
… God’s promise is enough for us to move ahead in faith, … fearing nothing.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Deuteronomy 1:21-33 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Moses tells God’s chosen that they should have no fear as they go into the promised land because of God’s covenant with His people.
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Reference Passage [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. 
 … God’s way is fashioned by the trust we have in Him to lead us.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Philippians 4:6-7 [NLT] … 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 
… No fear … just faith!!

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Hebrews 13:8 [NLT] … 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 
… Our Lord never changes. So, he can be trusted the same as Moses trusted Him.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Xochitl Dixon, told of a very personal story to illustrate how our trust in built in God as we abide more intimately in him. The ODB author wrote: Before my husband and I surrendered our lives to Christ, we seriously considered divorce. But after committing to love and obey God, we recommitted to each other. We sought wise counsel and invited the Holy Spirit to transform us individually and as a couple. Our heavenly Father continues to help us develop healthy communication skills. He’s teaching us how to love and trust Him—and one another—no matter what happens. 
Yet, even as we head toward celebrating our twenty-fifth anniversary, I occasionally forget everything God has done in and through our trials. Sometimes, I struggle with a deep-seated fear of the unknown—experiencing unnecessary anxiety instead of relying on God’s track record. 

That story by the ODB author reminded me that just a couple of years ago my wife and I celebrated our 50th anniversary by recommitting our marriage to God in a renewal of our vows (SEE PHOTO - yeah, that’s us!). And like the ODB author, we had a time in our 13th year of marriage when it could’ve been “splitsville.” But God led us to Himself; and we grew into a strong faith and abiding relationship with Christ. And He healed our marriage and even led me from a health-car career into the ministry.

And that’s the kind of strength which comes from a Prov. 3:5-6 trust in God, … and a Phil. 4:6-7 faith in a God Who never changes (see Heb. 13:8). Yes, our God is the same God who delivered His people out of Egypt and across the Red Sea. He’s the same God who led God’s people into the Promised Land (see highlight passage). And, … He’s the same God Who sent His Son to save us from our sins.

So, … we can trust our Lord to heal marriages, to lead us thru the dark places in life, and to bring us home to join Him in heaven. The question is: Do we trust Him today and tomorrow to do just that?!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I’m Yours, 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, October 28, 2017

October 28, 2017 … Fruitful For His Glory

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 301 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with lyrics from Matt Maher singing … Abide With Me … triumphantly singing a prayer for our Lord to abide with any who love and follow our Lord.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Jeremiah 17:7-8 [NLT] … 7 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. 8  They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. 
… God’s promise of eternal fruitfulness for those who trust and follow Him.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Jeremiah 17:5-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s prophesy for His People, thru Jeremiah, of the eternal fruit which will come for all who truly believe and follow the Lord.
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Reference Passage [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. 
 … God does provide; but He expects those who will to follow Him.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … John 15:1-5 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus is the vine of life; and we can only be fruitful by abiding in Him.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, also used a word picture from nature to illustrate how we must abide in Christ to be fruitful for His glory. The ODB author wrote: When friends moved into a new home, they planted wisteria near their fence and looked forward to the lavender blossom that would appear after five years of growth. Over two decades they enjoyed this plant [see photo], carefully pruning and tending it. 
 But suddenly the wisteria died, for their neighbors had poured some weed killer by the other side of the fence. The poison seeped into the wisteria’s roots and the vine perished—or so my friends thought. To their surprise, the following year some shoots came through the ground. 

In the highlight OBD Scripture today, we read of God’s prophesy of the eternal fruitfulness which will come to/for those who remain faithful and obedient to God, … abiding in the One Who would (and now has) come to give His remnant eternal life. And, of course, Jeremiah was prophesying of The Messiah, Who would come to give all who believe and trust Him that eternal fruitfulness.

And that’s what Jesus proclaimed in His coming as Messiah … to give eternal life to any/all who would come to, follow, and abide in Him (see John 15:1-5). And which of us, who truly love Jesus, would not want to be fruitful for His glory? Of course we would! So, what does it take? Well, again the John 15 passage lays it out for those of us who desire to be Christ’s disciples (along with Jesus’ commands in Luke 9:23 and John 14:21 - LOOK THEM UP!). We must abide in Him, denying our self, and trusting that He will lead us to thrive and be fruitful in His Name.

So, that’s why I’m right here, right now, and every morning … surrendering to His Spirit and doing all I can in mind and heart to trust and follow my Lord.

How about you today … and then tomorrow?

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Keep me grounded in Your essence, Lord, that I may abide in You and be fruitful for Your glory. … Amen

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

Friday, October 27, 2017

October 27, 2017 … He IS My Provider!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 300 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video and lyrics from a worship group singing … Jehovah Jireh, My Provider … joyfully singing of how God is so faithful to provide for our needs.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Deuteronomy 24:19 [NLT] … 19 “When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. …” 
… God’s command, thru Moses, for His people to be His hands of provision for those who have needs they can’t provide.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Deuteronomy 24:19-22 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… And God, our Provider, expects His believers to do all we can to be His hands of provision. 
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Proverbs 12:11 [NLT] … 11 A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense. 
… God does provide; but He expects those who can to work for their food rather than chasing fantasies.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Ephesians 3:20 [NLT] … 20 Now all glory to God, Who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 
 … What God has waiting for us Christians in glory are gifts WAY BEYOND what we can imagine.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Philippians 4:19 [NLT] … 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. 
 … Our God is our Provider! And when we follow Him, He will provide more than we can ever imagine.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 1st Thessalonians 3:10 [NLT] … 
10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 
… Yes, God is our provider, but He expects those who can to plan and work for their provision

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Julie Ackerman Link, used a word picture from nature to illustrate how God uses various means to provide for our needs. The ODB author wrote: Outside my office window, the squirrels are in a race against winter to bury their acorns in a safe, accessible place. Their commotion amuses me. An entire herd of deer can go through our back yard and not make a sound, but one squirrel sounds like an invasion. 
The two creatures are different in another way as well. Deer do not prepare for winter. When the snow comes they eat whatever they can find along the way (including ornamental shrubs in our yard). But squirrels would starve if they followed that example. They would be unable to find suitable food. 

A carry over from my journalling yesterday (SEE THIS LINK), we know that God is willing (and certainly able) to provide our needs; … and yes, even way more than we need! And when He does, He expects those of us who CAN provide for ourselves to leave or give some for those who cannot provide (see the highlight passage).

And so, quite often we can be like a generous squirrel [see photo] and leave some nuts for the deer. And in that way, we WHO CAN will become God’s hands of provision for those WHO CAN’T store away for the winter.

My questions from this wisdom today are: #1… do I really trust God - in faith - to be my Provider (see song link)… and #2 … do I do enough to provide for those under my charge?

And we all should ask/answer these for ourselves, shouldn’t we?

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … You most certainly are my Jehovah Jireh, providing all I need from Your riches in glory. And so, dear Lord, help me to be Your hands for others who need Your provision. … Amen

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

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October 26, 2017 … Way Better Gifts To Come

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 299 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video and lyrics from The Maranatha Singers with a rendition of the old hymn … Great Is Thy Faithfulness … poignantly singing of how God is so faithful to provide the abundant life He has promised.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1st Chronicles 17:7-8 [NLT] … 7 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 8 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name like the names of the greatest men on earth. 
… Thru Nathan, the Prophet, God promises David abundant living for His people … FOREVER! 
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st Chronicles 17:1-15 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s promised gifts to King David.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … John 3:16, 10:10 [NLT] ... USE THIS LINK
… God gave His all so that we could have abundant life.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Romans 8:32 [NLT] … 32 Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else? 
… He gave us His Son … why would He withhold His promised “abundant life?”

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Ephesians 3:20 [NLT] … 20 Now all glory to God, Who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 
 … What God has waiting for us Christians in glory are gifts WAY BEYOND what we can imagine.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Philippians 4:19 [NLT] … 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. 
 … Our God is our Provider! And His promised gifts are glorious beyond our imagination.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Kirsten Holmberg, used a personal story to illustrate how God’s gifts are gracious beyond description. The ODB author wrote: My birthday is the day after my mother’s. As an adolescent, I would scramble to think of a gift that delighted my mom yet fit in my budget. She always received my purchases with appreciation, and on the following day, my birthday, she would present her gift to me. Without fail, her gift vastly outshone mine [see photo]. Her intention wasn’t to diminish what I’d given her; she simply gave generously from her resources, which far exceeded my own. 

Today’s highlight passage [see 1st Chronicles 17] shows God’s amazing love to those who love Him. King David, “a man after God’s own heart,” wanted to give God the greatness of a temple to glorify his Lord; but God showed that His gifts - to David and God’s people - were one day to be so abundant, … way beyond what even King David could imagine.

And I hope that all reading with me here realize that what God has waiting for us in glory is so far beyond what we can imagine. Truly, as the Maranatha Singers sing in today’s linked song, Great Is Thy Faithfulness!” So, let’s stop and get on our knees today in a posture of thankful prayer for all of God’s providence now, … and even more so for His promise of glory to come.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Your coming gifts stagger my imagination; but I do wait faithfully for them. … Amen

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

October 25, 2017 … Living Water Today

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 298 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir singing … More Than Enough … powerfully and poignantly singing of how God provides all we need in this life.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Exodus 17:3 [NLT] … 3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” 
… When God’s people became thirsty in the wilderness, even tho God had provided for their needs in the past, they grumbled to Moses of their thirst.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Exodus 17:1-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… We all need to learn and trust that God provides the needs of those who believe on Him to be our Provider.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 63:1 [NLT] … You, God, are my God; and earnestly I seek You; … I thirst for You in a dry and parched land where there is no water. … Joshua declares Whom he will serve! 
 … So, Whom will we serve today.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … John 4:7-13 [NLT] ... USE THIS LINK
… Jesus shows the Samaritan woman (and us) that He will supply all the living waters we need in this life and most certainly in the next.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Philippians 4:19 [NLT] … 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. 
 … Our God is our Provider! But do we trust Him as Jehovah Jireh?

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Dennis Fisher, used a word picture of how we must trust our God for Him to be our Provider. The ODB author wrote: In the 1960s, the Kingston Trio released a song called “Desert Pete.” The ballad tells of a thirsty cowboy who is crossing the desert and finds a hand pump. Next to it, Desert Pete has left a note urging the reader not to drink the water in the jar left there but to use its contents to prime the pump. 
The cowboy resists the temptation to drink and uses the water as the note instructs. In reward for his obedience, he receives an abundance of cold, satisfying water. Had he not acted in faith, he would have had only a jar of unsatisfying, warm water to drink. 

This word picture of the need to trust before we can drink to satisfy our thirst is a good one to illustrate how God’s people failed to trust God (and their leader, Moses) when they got thirsty in the wilderness [see highlight passage]. Yet, over and over again, God showed them that He was their Provider God (Jehovah Jireh). The question posed by the ODB entry today is quite obvious ...

... Do we trust God to provide our needs … OR NOT?

And our Jehovah Jireh has certainly provided The Pump Primer in our Lord, Jesus, to give us all we need in this life; but we have to be willing to trust Him to do so. So, after you’ve joined me to hear the linked song and meditated on the Scriptures above, let us declare to our Lord that we trust Him today (and all days) to give us His living waters in this dry and thirsty land in which we live.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … You provide me with ALL my needs … 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.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

October 24, 2017 … Washing His Feet

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 297 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of John Waller singing … As For Me and My House … poignantly singing of how our lives must be given in service to our Lord.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 25:40 [NLT] … 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.’ 
… When we serve others sacrificially, we serve Jesus.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 25:31-40 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus reveals in a parable what He came to do … to serve others.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Joshua 24:14-15 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Joshua declares Whom he will serve! … So, Whom will we serve today.

  Reference Passage [NLT] : … John 13:34-35 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ... 
… Jesus shows His love for His disciples by washing their feet and demands the same from them [i.e., us] to each other … and then all others.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Ephesians 6:7-8 [NLT] … 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. 
 … If we serve others wholeheartedly, we will be serving Jesus

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher, used a personal story to illustrate how in serving those in need we serve Jesus. The ODB author wrote: When a friend cared for her housebound mother-in-law, she asked her what she longed for the most. Her mother-in-law said, “For my feet to be washed.” My friend admitted, “How I hated that job! Each time she asked me to do it I was resentful, and would ask God to hide my feelings from her.” 
But one day her grumbling attitude changed in a flash. As she got out the bowl and towel and knelt at her mother-in-law’s feet, she said, “I looked up, and for a moment I felt like I was washing the feet of Jesus Himself. She was Jesus in disguise!” After that, she felt honored to wash her mother-in-law’s feet. 

Fellow Christian, wouldn’t you agree that it is our human nature to control things and desire that other serve us - rather than follow the example of Jesus to His Disciples in John 13 where our Lord washed their feet to show them what they (we) must do to follow Him (also meditate yourself on Luke 93 - and I hope you have that one memorized!)? Do I sense a strong “AMEN!” to that question? I hope so; because that’s certainly the case with my human nature, as I would expect all others.

Every day we have a choice whom we will serve, don’t we; and Joshua challenged God’s people, as he was leading them into the Promised Land, to serve their God before themselves. When Jesus washed the feet of His disciples in the Upper Room, just before He would carry out the THE service and sacrifice to all mankind on the cross, He wanted His Disciples (and us) to see that serving others is really serving Him, … just as He taught in today’s highlight passage. And finally, the Apostle Paul exhorted God’s chosen (that’s you and me) to serve others just as we would (and SHOULD) serve the Lord (see Eph. 6:7-8).

So, I pray that I can go into foot-washing mode if I’m led to anyone today who needs me to figuratively wash their feet today (see photo). And perhaps after you’ve taken in today’s linked song, you will join me, as Joshua called God’s people, to choose to serve the Lord more openly and willingly today.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me reach out and “wash the feet” of anyone who needs my service today. … Amen

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

Monday, October 23, 2017

October 23, 2017 … My Brother, Jesus!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 296 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of the group Westlife singing the great song written by The Judds … Love Can Build A Bridge … poignantly singing of what is desperately needed in our world to overcome all the separation and anger we see expressed in angst and division of this world.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Genesis 33:10-11 [NLT] … 10 “No, please!” said Jacob. “If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably. 11 Please accept the present that was brought to you, for God has been gracious to me and I have all I need.” And because Jacob insisted, Esau accepted it. 
… Reconciliation is possible when two brothers surrender to mutual love they have from God. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Genesis 33:1-11[NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The rivalry between two brothers, Jacob and Esau, is reconciled. But unfortunately their progeny have not been able to realize the same as brotherly love.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … John 13:34-35 [NLT] … 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 
… Jesus shows His love for His disciples and demands the same from them to each other and others.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … John 15:12 [NLT] … 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you; … 
... Jesus teaching - and commanding - His disciples to love one another; … but are we really His disciples?

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 2nd Corinthians 5:17 [NLT] … 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here! 
… We are new in Christ; so, let’s go out and show it off to others.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 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. 
… Paul trying to get his fellow Christians to think of others before self.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Tim Gustafson, used a personal story to illustrate how sibling or personal rivalries are natural and can only be overcome by the supernatural love of God, binding brother to brother in Christ’s grace. The ODB author wrote: My brother and I, less than a year apart in age, were quite “competitive” growing up (translation: we fought!). Dad understood. He had brothers. Mom? Not so much. Our story could have fit in the book of Genesis, which might well be subtitled A Brief History of Sibling Rivalry. Cain and Abel (Gen. 4); Isaac and Ishmael (Gen. 21:8–10); Joseph and everyone not named Benjamin (Gen. 37). But for brother-to-brother animosity, it’s hard to beat Jacob and Esau. 
Esau’s twin brother had cheated him twice, so he wanted to kill Jacob (Gen. 27:41). Decades later Jacob and Esau would reconcile (Gen. 33). But the rivalry continued on in their descendants, …

Continuing on from my blog yesterday [LINKED HERE] with God’s desire that we show the same love He has for us by sharing that love with others. I’ve never had a biological brother to spawn such a sibling rivalry as that between Jacob and Esau in the highlight passage.

But I’ve certainly experienced a lot of disdain and covetousness for others in my life, like those biblical rivalries described in Genesis referenced in the ODB entry. But now, having been in Christ for several decades, I’ve discovered the supernatural brotherhood of believers and can honestly say that God’s grace emanating from my relationship with Christ has given me the fruitfulness to break thru my own selfish and competitive nature to be able to express love to other men (or women) I would never have done so before I knew Christ as my Lord and Savior.

I actually have experienced what Jesus commanded of His disciples in the key reference passage of John 13:34-35. And we all need to surrender to the truth in His command and BECOME what is expressed in the linked song above … that “love can build a bridge” between us all [see photo]. Because we’ve all got that natural competitive and covetous nature to combat; but in Christ we don’t have to relent to our nature. We can live out the newness we are becoming in Christ (see 2 Cor 5:17).

Yes, for sure, we are new in Christ; so, lets go forth today and show His supernatural love to others that He brings into our lives today.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me reach out with Your love to someone else today. … Amen

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

Sunday, October 22, 2017

October 22, 2017 … Loving One Another

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 295 
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Blogger Note: ... Normally posted in am ... Wifi not available during conference to post today ... Hence I’m posting this in the pm from home upon return from the conference ... wrb 
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Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK ...  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of the mother/daughter duo, The Judds, singing their hit … Love Can Build A Bridge … poignantly singing of what is desperately needed in our world … i.e., love to bring us together …


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Highlight Verse[s]: John 15:12 [NLT] … 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 
… Simple command; … so difficult to follow.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 15:9-17 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… We all need a safe place to run to when we feel threatened.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … John 13:34-35 [NLT] … 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 
… Jesus teaching - and commanding - His disciples to love one another; … but are we really His disciples?

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 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. 
… Paul trying to get his fellow Christians to think of others before self.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Hebrews 10:24-25 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s exhortation to encourage one another and to come together in unity.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Joe Stowell, used a personal story to illustrate how we so often unwilling to share with or give to those who’re different that are we. The ODB author wrote: One of my favorite churches started several years ago as a ministry to ex-prisoners who were transitioning back into society. Now the church flourishes with people from all walks of life. I love that church because it reminds me of what I picture heaven will be like—filled with different kinds of people, all redeemed sinners, all bound together by the love of Jesus. 
Sometimes, though, I wonder if church seems more like an exclusive club than a safe haven for forgiven sinners. As people naturally gravitate into groups of “a certain kind” and cluster around those they feel comfortable with, it leaves others feeling marginalized. 

Do I sense an “AMEN” from any reader here from my journal entry today? Don’t you think we need a lot more of Jesus’ “love one another” prescription, … attempting to build bridges between us [hear the song], rather than walls?

I sure do!!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me to be a bridge builder today. … Amen

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

Saturday, October 21, 2017

October 21, 2017 … Our Safe Place

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 294 

Devotional Song:GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Steven Curtis Chapman singing his song … His Strength Is Perfect … poignantly singing of where we can run when we feel weak or threatened … into the arms of Jesus.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 20, 2017

October 20, 2017 … God’s Glory to Come

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 293 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Steven Curtis Chapman singing his song … Be Still and Know … Poignantly singing of how we can see and know the best there is to see in this world; and it is a mere reflection of God’s glory to com.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

October 19, 2017 …Using His Power

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 292 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October 18, 2017 …My Sins - His Nails

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 291 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Yes, Lord, HALLELUJAH!! … Amen

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October 17, 2017 …Yielding to The Winds

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 290 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I yield to Your winds today! … Amen

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

Monday, October 16, 2017

October 16, 2017 …For Our Good

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 289 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October 15, 2017 …Stewards of Creation

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 288 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 14, 2017

October 14, 2017 … Needing My Hugs Today

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 287 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 13, 2017

October 13, 2017 … What’s Your Name?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 286 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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