Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January 31, 2018 … Snow White

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 31 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with song and lyrics from Twila Paris and chorus singing … White As Snow … poignantly singing of the reality of how God’s blood has cleansed those who believe on Him as white as now.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Isaiah 1:18a [NLT] … 18  “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. 
… What an amazing promise ... fulfilled by Jesus!!
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Highlight Passage [context]: Isaiah 1:16-20[NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru the Prophet, makes it clear that He can and will make all believers white as snow … that our sins, which are like crimson, will be cleansed forever.
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Reference Passage : … Psalm 103:11-12 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s promise to remove our sins COMPLETELY!!

Reference Passage : … Lamentations 3:22-23 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Jeremiah, promises that His cleansing mercies are new EVERY morning.

Reference Passage : … 1st Jonn 1:9 [NKJV] … 9 But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 
 … Anytime, anywhere, a believer is willing/able to confess his/her sins, that one is cleansed completely and made as white as snow.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Xochitl Dixon, told a personal story to illustrate God’s faithfulness, especially when we face times of trouble. The ODB author wrote: Last December, my family and I went to the mountains. We had lived in a tropical climate all our lives, so it was the first time we could see snow in all its magnificence. As we contemplated the white mantle covering the fields, my husband quoted Isaiah, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).

The photo above is a snow phenomena which occurs occasionally on a mountain in Montana where snow completely covers the trees forming figures which look like what is called “snow ghosts.” It makes an interesting nature picture to illustrate what the Prophet Isaiah was communicating from God as to how, we we surrender ourselves to God completely, He has covered our sins with the blood of the Lamb of God, His Son, Jesus, The Christ, and made us white as snow.

And for one, my fellow Christians, I’m one who has - and still is - the benefactor of having been cleansed of my sin and able come to my Lord daily to confess my sin with a humble attitude of contrition and have my sins completely cleansed - as white as snow (see 1st John 1:9 and hear the linked song). And God’s promise is that His mercy, in this regard, is new every morning for as long as I live combatting my sin nature.

And it’s like my Lord makes me from a snow “ghost” into a very real snow “man” with His blood having covered me eternally on the cross. And if you share my gratefulness, do I sense you joining me in a rousing HALLELUJAH!!!

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, another Hallelujah of thanks for Your shed blood which covers all my sins.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit …I come again this morning doing all I can to humbly present myself for your covering, knowing that You will make me as white as the snow. … 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, January 30, 2018

January 30, 2018 … My Mighty Fortress

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 30 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with song and lyrics from Steven Curtis Chapman singing … Be Still and Know … poignantly singing of the faithfulness of our God, Whom we can run to in times in trouble and pain. … and ON TO THIS LINK to hear a chorus singing Martin Luther’s famous hymn, A Mighty Fortress, powerfully singing what David wrote in Psalm 46 … that God is our faithful protector in times of trouble.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 46:1 [NLT] … 1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. 
… We run to Him in times of trouble.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 46 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… David honors his God with a song declaring the Lord’s sovereignty and available to all who trust him the Lord.
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Reference Passage : … Matthew 11:28-30[NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus, our Messiah, invites all who struggle to bring their worries to Him; and He will help carry them.

Reference Passage : … 2nd Corinthians 12: 9 [NKJV] … 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. 
… Paul learned that even in the worst pain, God’s grace is sufficient to give Paul (and us) the strength when we are weak.

Reference Passage : … 1st Peter 5:7 [NKJV] … 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 
… God, thru Peter, exhorts believers to bring their cares to our God; … anyone, anytime, anywhere.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Xochitl Dixon, told a personal story to illustrate God’s faithfulness, especially when we face times of trouble. The ODB author wrote: My husband was at work when I received news about my mom’s cancer diagnosis. I left him a message and reached out to friends and family. None were available. Covering my face with trembling hands, I sobbed. “Help me, Lord.” A resulting assurance that God was with me comforted me through those moments when I felt utterly alone. 
I thanked the Lord when my husband came home and support from friends and family trickled in. Still, the calming awareness of God’s presence I sensed in those first few hours of lonely grieving affirmed that God is readily and faithfully available wherever and whenever I need help. 

 Right now, as I write this, I’m feeling very weak and quite ill. And I really needed these uplifting thoughts and reminders that anyone (who is in Christ), anytime, anywhere can be comforted by the reality and truth that our God never changes and as David wrote in Psalm 46, we can garner His strength when we are weak (see also the reference scriptures above).

And I need His strength today. Perhaps you do too.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for being what Martin Luther wrote … “A Mighty Fortress.”
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I need Your strength and healing touch today, 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.

Monday, January 29, 2018

January 29, 2018 … Childlike Trust

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 29 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with song and lyrics from Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing their song … I Want To Be Just Like You … poignantly singing of the surrendered attitude of a child to become just like his father just as we, as God’s children want to become just like His Son, our Savior.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 18:2-3 [NLT] … 2 Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. 3 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. 
… It takes the surrendered/faith attitude of a child to enter Heaven.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 18:1-5, 19:13-14 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus was clear that we need the trustful attitude of a child to receive His saving grace. 
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Reference Passage : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
 … Complete trust in our Lord, like that of a child for his parent is what is need to follow Jesus.

Reference Passage : … Luke 9:23 [NKJV] … 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. …” 
… That’s what a child does in following a parent … to give up himself and to follow in complete trust.

Reference Passage : … Revelation 3:20 [NKJV] … 20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. …” 
… Jesus wants to fellowship with us; but we have to trust Him and open the door to our hearts just like a child will come to a father when he calls.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, told a personal story about his little laughter to illustrate how we must come to Jesus to receive His saving grace. The ODB author wrote: One evening many years ago, after saying a goodnight prayer with our two-year-old daughter, my wife was surprised by a question. 
“Mommy, where is Jesus?” 
Luann replied, “Jesus is in heaven and He’s everywhere, right here with us. And He can be in your heart if you ask Him to come in.” 
“I want Jesus to be in my heart.” 
“One of these days you can ask Him.” 
“I want to ask Him to be in my heart now.” So our little girl said, “Jesus, please come into my heart and be with me.” And that started her faith journey with Him. 

It is true that children, even at age two, are little heathens in need of salvation; but they also have an attitude of trust where they can openly and accept the need for a Savior. And that’s what Jesus used as a life picture when He instructed His disciples [in the highlight passages] on the attitude of trust and surrender it took for anyone to come to Him in faith and receive Him as Lord and Savior.

It took a full 39 years, and the relentless pursuit of God’s Spirit, for me to finally, in brokenness, to surrender and accept God’s saving grace. I can only hope that all reading here have - at some point - had the trust of a child and seen the need to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

And I will pray below that we all have that childlike trust today and open the door of our hearts for our Savior to be with us in fellowship today (see Rev. 3:20).

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You helping me get to the point of a child who needs to come to His Father in repentance and accept Your saving grace.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … May all who read with me here join me in coming to You daily and receiving your sanctifying grace so that we can fellowship with You and follow You as our Lord all days. … 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, January 28, 2018

January 28, 2018 … Joyful, Joyful!!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 28 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with song and lyrics from a group of Mennonite singers singing the old hymn… Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee … singing JOYFULLY of the attitude we should have when we come into the presence of our Lord … i.e., joy at knowing that He is our God and He has saved us from ourselves.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 92:4 [NLT] … 4  You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me!  I sing for joy because of what you have done. 
… David sings for joy in looking back at what the Lord has done for him.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 92 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… David sings of the joy of knowing his Lord.
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Reference Passage : … Psalm 28:7 [NLT] … 7  The Lord is my strength and shield.  I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.  I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. 
… We capture joy in hearts when we trust in the Lord - no matter what. Reference Passage : … 

Psalm 32:1-2 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… King David relates the joy he found when God forgave him of his sins involving Bathsheba and how any believer can find that joy in God’s forgiveness.

Reference Passage : … Matthew 3:16-17 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… [Also Mark 1:11] God, the Father, finds His greatest joy in His Son … and so should we!

Reference Passage : … John 15:10-12 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus makes it clear that we will only find joy when we walk in obedience to His word.

Reference Passage : … James 1:2-3 [NKJV] … 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 
… You see, … we can even choose joy when we’re cast into moments of trial.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Allison Kieda, cites King David’s reference to finding joy in our relationship with God (see the Psalms highlighted and referenced below. The ODB author wrote: I’m fast approaching a new season—the “winter” of old age—but I’m not there yet. Even though the years are galloping by and sometimes I’d like to slow them down, I have joy that sustains me. Each day is a new day given me by the Lord. With the psalmist, I can say, “It is good to praise the Lord . . . proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night”! (Psalm 92:1–2). 

Well the ODB author today may not be in the “winter” of her life; but I am. And I’m here to give witness to what King David proclaimed in his songs, cited above; … that we can only find true joy, especially in the difficult times of life, when we capture the joy that God, the Father, has in His Son (see Matt. 3:16-17 and Mark 1:11). When things are tough in life, it’s only our abiding relationship with Christ (see John 15) and our trust in Him that can inject joy into our lives (even in the milieu of sorrow or pain - see James 1:2-3).

When can you remember a moment like the one in the photo, where you were almost overwhelmed with the joy of friendships? Well, that was likely sparked by the happiness of the circumstances; but our joy is not a feeling. It is a choice; … and it is kindled when we remember and revel in our abiding relationship with Christ.

I will pray that we all choose to bask in the joy that Christ has brought in to our lives as a gift of the Spirit (on your own, see Gal. 5:22-23).

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for the joy of knowing and abiding in You. 
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Let me choose joy … even when lift gets trough. … 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, January 27, 2018

January 27, 2018 … Approaching God

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 27 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with song and lyrics from Matt Redman singing … Let My Words Be Few … poignantly singing of the attitude we should have when we come into the presence of our Lord in prayer.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 [NLT] … 1 As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. 2 Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few. 
… As today’s linked song proclaims … when we come into an attitude of prayer, approaching God, … “let my words be few.”
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Highlight Passage [context]: Ecclesiastes 5:1-7[NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The author shows us how we are to approach God … more with a listening ear than a rambling tongue.
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Reference Passage : … Proverbs 10:32, 13:3 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Solomon, gives us guidance on how to approach Him … with a listening ear and a muted tongue.

Reference Passage : … Matthew 12:34b [NLT] … 34b … whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 
… Jesus tells the religious leaders that what ever comes out of our mouths emirates from our heart. [Also see Luke 6:45]

Reference Passage : … Ephesians 4:29b [NLT] … 29 … Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. 
… Paul teaches on how to limit our speech only to those things which lift others up or convey God’s grace to the hearers.

Reference Passage : … James 3:1-12 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… James shows us the importance to limiting what we speak.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, citing the author of Ecclesiastes, shows her readers (me) how we should come into the presence of the Lord in Prayer. The ODB author wrote: One day during a university philosophy class, a student made some inflammatory remarks about the professor’s views. To the surprise of the other students, the teacher thanked him and moved on to another comment. When he was asked later why he didn’t respond to the student, he said, “I’m practicing the discipline of not having to have the last word.” 
This teacher loved and honored God, and he wanted to embody a humble spirit as he reflected this love. His words remind me of another Teacher—this one from long ago, who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes [see highlight passage]

Readers here have probably heard the old saying: “We have two ears and one mouth; and we should use them in that proportion.” And according to God’s word, from Solomon, to Paul, to James, and yes, even Jesus (see above), that is good advice when it comes to approaching God in prayer as well. 

Most certainly it is truth that what we say is a reflection of our hearts (see Jesus’ admonition in Matt. 12 and Luke 6 referred to above). So, knowing that my heart defaults to my flesh (see Jer. 17:9), the admonition of today’s linked song is good advice. Therefore, when I come to God in prayer, as today, I should “let my words be few” and listen to God’s Spirit at least twice as much as I speak my piece to God.

So, today … and prayerfully tomorrow too … I need to be listening for God’s perfect “GPS,” especially from His word; and then speaking only what He leads my heart to say.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for pouring Your grace of illumination and enlightenment into my heart that I might speak Your thoughts to others.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me to pour out your grace and edification to others and stop to listen for what You’re saying to me before I speak to You, and certainly others. … Amen

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

Friday, January 26, 2018

January 26, 2018 … Time Flies

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 26 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with song and lyrics from Oleta Adams singing the song of worship … Holy Is The Lamb … poignantly singing of the heart of worship all Christians should have for our Lord, Who is the Lamb of God.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Revelation 4:8 [NLT] … 8 Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, … “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty — the One Who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”
… John saw the angels in Heaven worshipping God.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Revelation 4 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… John has a revelation of what worship in Heaven looks like.
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Reference Passage : … Acts 1:6-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… How glorious it must have been to be there to witness Jesus being taken by God’s Spirit into His glorious reunion with His Heavenly Father.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Julie Ackerman Link, who BTW is in heaven now worshipping our God, uses a common phrase to illustrate what time will be like when we’re in heaven worshipping God. The ODB author wrote: “Time flies when you’re having fun.” [see photo] This cliché has no basis in fact, but experience makes it seem true. When life is pleasant, time passes all too quickly. Give me a task that I enjoy, or a person whose company I love, and time seems irrelevant. 

There is some truth to that old cliche, isn’t there? Time seems to drag on forever when we’re wrapped in stress and anguish; and time sees to fly so fast when life is going well. So can we imagine how fast time will fly in heaven, when every moment will be glorious as we will be ALWAYS in the presence of the Lamb of God? And as the Apostle John was given revelation, worship in Heaven (see Revelation, Chapter 4) will be so glorious that time, as we know it, will be almost meaningless.

I learned, in reading and mediating on this ODB entry today, that the author of this devotional is now in heaven worshipping our Lord with the angels; and how glorious it is to contemplate how wonderful that must be for the one who was writing in this piece about how time will all be wonderful as we worship the Lamb of God in heaven.

Sure, I want to live as long as God gives me time to be here, worshipping Him with my life; but I so revel in the thought (and reality) of how time will fly in heaven as I see - and worship - my Lord face to face.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You where You are taking me to be with You in eternity.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help my time of worship to fly as I live for Your glory here and new. … 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, January 25, 2018

January 25, 2018 … Real-deal Hope

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 25 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with song and lyrics from the group Third Day singing the old Hymn … Blessed Assurance … poignantly singing of the hope we have in Christ to join Him in glory.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Romans 5:3-4 [NLT] … 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. 
… Because our hope is in Christ’s finished work on the cross and not on our own abilities or position in life, our hope is the “real-deal!!”
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Highlight Passage [context]: Romans 5:1-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, shows Christians where our hope lies … in the one - AND ONLY ONE - Who died that we might have life thru our faith in His saving grace.
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Reference Passage : … Romans 5:8-9 [NLT] … 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 
… Yes, … even tho we were (are) sinners, Christ died and was risen again, to allow us to have genuine hope for our eternal future.

Reference Passage : … Romans 8:16 [NLT] … 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 
… For the born-again Christian, it’s God’s Spirit, joined with ours at conversion and justification which testifies to the hope we have in our eternal relationship with Christ.

Reference Passage : … Philippians 3:13-14 [NLT] … 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. 
 … We have “real-deal” hope in Christ that helps us look forward to heaven no matter what we’re facing.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, James Banks, uses an interesting word picture of waiting in lines to get somewhere to illustrate the very real-deal hope we have in Christ. The ODB author wrote: Not long ago I visited the Empire State Building with a friend. The line looked short—just down the block and around the corner. Yet as we entered the building, we discovered the line of people stretching through the lobby, up the stairs, and into another room. Every new turn revealed more distance to go. 
Attractions and theme parks carefully route their crowds to make the lines seem shorter.[see photo] 

Perhaps you’ve been to a theme park or airport where the waiting lines are in a “snake” configuration (again see photo) to give those waiting a feeling that the lines are shorter than they really are. The park or airport creates a feeling of false hope that we’re going to arrive at our destination faster than we really will.

Well, the hope we have in Christ is no false feeling of getting to our destination. It’s “real-deal” hope … because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection to show us the genuine hope we can have to overcome the “waiting” we have to do as we travel thru the circumstances (i.e., waiting lines) of life.

That’s what the Apostle Paul was writing about to Christians in the Scripture passages from Romans 5 and 8 and Philippians 3 [see above]. We. who’re genuine, born-again Christians, can have real-deal hope in any waiting line in life; because we have the genuine assurance [hear the song] that Jesus gives us as we wait for our eternal reward in heaven. And it looks like the line to get there is getting shorter and shorter, doesn’t it?

It could be tomorrow … or even today!

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for showing us the end of the line, which is to be with You forever.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Come soon, Lord Jesus; … but I wait with the hope that is in You. … Amen

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

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

January 24, 2018 … Sing Praise to His Glory

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 24 

Devotional Song:GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with images and lyrics from Chris Rice singing the old Hymn … How Great Thou Art … poignantly singing of the greatness of our God, Who created even the birds who sing to His glory.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 104:1, … 12 [NLT] … 1  Let all that I am praise the Lord. O Lord my God, how great you are!  You are robed with honor and majesty. … 12  The birds nest beside the streams and sing among the branches of the trees. 
… Is this the attitude which we bring to living; … an attitude of praise to the God of all that even the birds sing forth.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 104:1-12, 24-30 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… As with the Psalmist, we must hold a continual reverence for our God.
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Reference Passage : … Colossians 1:17 [NLT] … 17 He [GOD] existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together. 
…Wow! How great is our God?!!

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Jeff Olson, uses a reference to how all creation sings out to worship our God. The ODB author wrote: A few winters ago, my hometown experienced an unusually long blast of bone-chilling temperatures that finally gave way to the warmer weather of spring. For two weeks straight, the outside thermometer dipped well below the sub-zero degree mark (-20 C; -5 F). 
On one particularly bitter cold morning, the sound of chirping birds broke the silence of night. Dozens, if not hundreds, sang their hearts out. If I didn’t know any better, I could have sworn the little creatures were crying out to their Creator to please warm things up! 
Bird experts tell us that the multitude of birdsongs we hear during late winter mornings are mostly male birds, attempting to attract mates and claim their territories [see photo]. Their chirping reminded me that God fine-tuned His creation to sustain and flourish life—because He is a God of life.

Isn’t it magnificent that even the birds sing of God’s glory (again, see photo). So, then let us, sing as does Chris Rice in the linked song, … “How Great Thou Art!” 

I don’t think I need to say any more, do I?

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for creating all we see for our pleasure and Your glory.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Even the birds sing of Your glory, … let me join their praise song this day! … Amen

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

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

January 23, 2018 … Loving Is Helping Others

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 23 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with images and lyrics from the group Avalon singing their song … Testimony To Love … powerfully singing of the testimony of God’s love which shows itself in the witness of the way we live our lives as Christians.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1st John 3:18 [NLT] … 18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 
… We say “YES” to God’s love by the choices we make and our way of living - more and more like Christ.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st John 3:16-24 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru John, shows Christians what real love is.
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Reference Passage : … Galatians 5:22-23 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… How can one see the fruit of God’s Spirit unless our actions reflect these fruit in the way we help others?

Reference Passage : … James 2:14-17 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
…God, also thru James, shows us that God’s love is shown in our hearts when we help others.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Dave Branon, related story about a couple who really showed God’s love by the sacrificial offering of their time, talents, and treasure by helping flood victims they had never known. The ODB author wrote: On August 21, 2016, Carissa posted photos on social media of a devastating flood in Louisiana. The next morning she included a note from someone in the flooded area pleading for help. Five hours after that, she and her husband, Bobby, sent out a call for others to join them on their 1,000-mile trip to provide help. Less than twenty-four hours later, thirteen people were on their way to serve those whose homes had been severely damaged. 
What motivates people to drop everything and drive seventeen hours to move appliances, do demolition work, and provide hope in a place they’ve never been before? It’s love

Well, we may not be called to reach out to travel 1000 miles and help flood victims; but the testimony of God’s love in our hearts (hear today’s linked song) is seen when we have opportunities to help others, with the use of our time, talents, and treasure; and we’re willing, as the couple in the story, to show God’s love by the choices we make to freely reach out and help.

Whom might we be called to help today; and are we willing to show God’s love to them? 

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for Your love which I desire to share with others.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Let me show your love and grace, even today, in my being willing/able to help others. … Amen

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

Monday, January 22, 2018

January 22, 2018 ... An Attitude of Gratitude

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 22

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK ...  ... Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of the group Merck Me singing their song ... Even If ... poignantly singing of the attitude we need when we’re confronted with trials/troubles in life.


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Highlight Verse[s]: James 1:2 [NLT] ... 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 
... Peter teaching Christians that joy is a choice and not a feeling; and we can choose joy in the midst of troubles and trials.
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Highlight Passage [context]: James 1:1-12 [NLT] ... USE THIS LINK ...
 ... God, thru James, shows believers how an attitude of gratitude can overcome our doubts and fears and give us joy.
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Reference Passage : ... Matthew 11:28-30 [NLT] ... USE THIS LINK ...
 ... When we have burdens or worries, He wants to help us carry them ... BUT ... we’ve got to be willing to let Him.

Reference Passage : ... 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.
... God’s word will always accomplish what He desires to communicate to us, including imparting His promises to us.

Reference Passage : ... 1 Peter 5:7 [NLT] ... 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 
... Peter shows us where God wants to place our worries in the face of trials we encounter.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Anne Cetas, related a story to illustrate how our attitude can make all the difference when we deal with the trials/worries of life. The ODB author wrote: Regina drove home from work discouraged and tired. The day had started with tragic news in a text message from a friend, then spiraled downward in meetings with co-workers who refused to work with any of her ideas. As Regina was talking to the Lord, she thought it best to put the stress of the day aside and made a surprise visit with flowers to an elderly friend at a care center. Her spirits lifted as Maria shared how good the Lord was to her. She said, “I have my own bed and a chair, three meals a day, and help from the nurses here. And occasionally God sends a cardinal to my window just because He knows I love them and He loves me.” Attitude. Perspective. 
 As the saying goes, “Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it.”

Many of the readers here with me today may be facing some trials or challenges and it may be producing stresses, anxiety, or worry. Well, today’s ODB, the linked song, and the Scriptures on which God led me to meditate and share above certainly show us that God wants us to bring our cares to Him, doesn’t He?

The attitude of gratitude exhibited by Maria in the ODB story above is the key to choosing joy over worry; and God has given us His Spirit to help us deal with the anxieties of life. But we’ve got to choose to yoke our attitudes to His grace and let Him give us the power to be overcomers ... just as the Lord has overcome Satan, the world, and our flesh (see John 16:33, which is not above; so you go meditate on it if you don’t know it).

Prayerfully, ... we will choose an ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE today and let God’s Spirit carry some of our woes instead of trying to carry them all ourselves.

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My THANKFULNESS: ... Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for implanting Your Spirit in my heart so that I can be an overcomer as my Lord was.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, ... King Jesus, ... Precious Spirit ... Today I bring my burdens to You, Lord. Help me carry them with Your strength because Your grace is sufficient to help me choose joy instead of worry. ... 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.</ span>

Sunday, January 21, 2018

January 21, 2018 ... His Promises

 Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 21

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK ...  ... Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of song writer Laura Story describing why she wrote her song ... Every Word Your Breath ... which describes the power and importance of God’s word in the lives of those who believe in it being the very word of God.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 2 Peter 1:4 [NLT] ... 4 And because of His glory and excellence, Hehas given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 2 Peter 1:1-9 [NLT] ... USE THIS LINK ... ... God, thru Peter, declares the power of God’s promises thru His word.
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Reference Passage : ... Psalm 119:9-16 [NLT] ... USE THIS LINK ... ... We stay pure by planting God’s promises in our hearts from His word.

Reference Passage : ... Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] ... USE THIS LINK ... ...Our God helps us by leading us through life by trusting in His promises.

Reference Passage : ... Isaiah 55:11 [NLT] ... 11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. 
... God’s word will always accomplish what He desires to communicate to us, including imparting His promises to us.

Reference Passage : ... 2 Timothy 3:16-17 [NLT] ... 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
... God’s word is gives us God’s promises and His power to live the life He desires for us.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Adam Holt, related a personal story to illustrate why promises kept are so important to maintain relationships with love/trust. The ODB author wrote: My youngest daughter and I have a game we call “Pinchers.” When she goes up the stairs, I’ll chase her and try to give her a little pinch. The rules are that I can only pinch her (gently, of course!) when she’s on the stairs. Once she’s at the top, she’s safe. Sometimes, though, she’s not in the mood to play. And if I follow her up the stairs, she’ll sternly say, “No pinchers!” I’ll respond, “No pinchers. I promise.” 
Now, that promise may seem a little thing. But when I do what I say, my daughter begins to understand something of my character. She experiences my consistency. She knows my word is good, that she can trust me. It’s a little thing, keeping such a promise. But promises—or, keeping them, I should say—are the glue of relationships. They lay a foundation of love and trust.

Do we understand why God’s word is so important to our relationship of love and trust in His promises? Other than consuming and trusting in the truth of God’s word (i.e., The Bible), how would we ever come to believe in His promises and then live by them?

Some have ask me why I am here EVERY DAY, delving into God’s word; and the answer is simple. God’s word is where I find His promises and direction for life. That’s what is spelled out in the Scriptures linked/copied above. It’s what Laura Story relates in the commentary on the song she wrote. If we don’t know God’s promises and then live by trusting them, where are we? And the answer is ... “ON OUR OWN!”

 And that, dear one is a very scary proposition. And so, you can find me right back here tomorrow, taking in more of God’s true promises and then doing all I can to live by them.

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My THANKFULNESS: ... Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for giving me Your promises from Your word.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, ... King Jesus, ... Precious Spirit ... Today, again, I devour Your promises from Your word and then go out to live 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.</ span>

Saturday, January 20, 2018

January 20, 2018 … He Is Our Help

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 20 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with images and lyrics from The Brooklyn Tabernacle singing a rendition from Psalm 121 … My Help … poignantly singing from the Song of Ascent in the Jewish culture of help we get from our God.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 121:2 [NLT] … 2  My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth! 
… The One Who made heaven and earth is our Helper.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 121 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… One of the Songs of Ascent, giving honor to God as the one Who is our Help in times of challenge.
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Reference Passage : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Our God helps us by leading us through life.

Reference Passage : … Isaiah 41:10 [NKJV] … 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. 
… Our God will lift us up when we are down.

Reference Passage : … 2 Corinthians 12:9 [NKJV] … 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. 
… Our Lord provides us with His strength to cover our weakness.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Arthur Jackson, reminded me of one of my favorite Christian songs sung by the famous Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir (see photo). The ODB author wrote: For decades the renowned Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir has blessed multitudes through their soul-refreshing gospel songs. One example is their recording from Psalm 121 titled “My Help.” … 
Do you feel alone, forsaken, abandoned, confused? Ponder the lyrics of Psalm 121. Allow these words to fill your soul with faith and courage. You’re not alone, so don’t try to do life on your own. Rather, rejoice in the earthly and eternal care of God as demonstrated in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. And whatever the next steps, take them with His help. 

And let me say this, beyond the encouraging words of this ODB author, … if you can use the link above and listen to the YouTube playing of the Brooklyn Tab, singing “My Help,” and not be lifted up by it’s truth in song, then I would say that you need to see someone for spiritual and/or emotional counseling.

And any or all of the Songs of Ascent (from Psalms 120-134) will also lift the spirits of any believer when we’re feeling down, just as they did for the Jewish pilgrims in King David’s day as they ascended to Jerusalem for the high Jewish feasts and celebrations of their faith.

I know that any time I’m feeling a bit down/out, I have that Brooklyn Tab song downloaded on my cell phone; and I’m ALWAYS lifted up by it and the reference Scriptures above, which I have memorized to allow God to be my helper.

Try it, let God lift you up with His songs.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for Your songs of ascent.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Lift me up, 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.

Friday, January 19, 2018

January 19, 2018 ... Moving Mountains

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 19 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with lyrics and song from Don Moen singing… God Will Make A Way … poignantly singing of the reality of our faith in following God when He calls, … no matter how improbable or even impossible the way may seem.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Zechariah 4:7 [NLT] … 7 Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it! 
… God’s calling is His enablement; and when He calls, not even a mountain could stand in the way of the faithful.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Zechariah 4:1-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet encourages the people to not let anything get in their way of rebuilding God’s Temple.
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Reference Passage : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
…When God calls us to a task, he will provide the way to complete it.

Reference Passage : … 1 Corinthians 10:13 [NKJV] … 13 The temptations [or translated “trials, troubles, tribulations”] in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation [or trial] to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted [or tried], he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 
… God will make a way when there seems to be no way.

Reference Passage : … 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul shows us that, as Christians, we walk by faith and NOT by sight.

Reference Passage : … 2 Corinthians 12:9 [NKJV] … 9 Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 
… When we feel weak in carrying out God’s calling, we must remember that His grace is sufficient for us to move ahead.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Marvin Williams, related an actual story of how one man cut a road thru a mountain. The ODB author wrote: What do you do when there is a mountain in your way? The story of Dashrath Manjhi can inspire us. When his wife died because he was unable to get her to the hospital to receive urgent medical care, Manjhi did what seemed impossible. He spent twenty-two years chiseling a massive gap in a mountain [see photo] so other villagers could get to the local hospital to receive the medical care they needed. Before he died, the government of India celebrated him for his achievement. 

I’m quite certain that each person reading here has encountered tasks in life which seem like a mountain has been put in our way. And maybe we haven’t been motivated as this Indian man in this story to chisel thru the mountain. But a mentor of mine once told me a truth which helped me get over a mountain in my path years ago.

I had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and I was told that I simply had to lose weight. I was almost 250 pound with an ideal weight of 180. Losing that weight was my mountain. But my mentor told me… “God’s calling is His enablement;” which translated to God giving me - with my faith - the Spirit’s power to lose that weight. And over the next months I did, getting down to the target weight. And in doing so I was able to get my diabetes under control.

We may not be called by God to cut a road thru a mountain; but if we are convicted that He is calling us to a task, even one which seems like a mountain; then, as Don Moen sings in the linked song, “He will make a way where there seems to be no way.”

So, if a mountain is in front of you and God is calling you to the other side, … KNOW that He will give you the grace to empower you to get to the other side of that mountain. Those are God’s promises (see Scriptures above), not mine.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for giving me mountain moving faith when I’ve needed it in the past.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me today to keep moving on the road around or thru the mountain in front of 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.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018 … Our Walk Of Faith

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 18 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with lyrics and song from Kristyn and Keith singing their song… By Faith … poignantly singing of the reality of our need as Christians to walk by faith, patiently trusting that our Lord will lead us.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Genesis 45:7 [NLT] … 7 And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 
… Joseph knew that it is God Who is ALWAYS in control of our destiny.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Genesis 45:1-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Joseph knew that it was God who had sent him to Egypt in slavery and delivered him from prison at just the right time to save his family and be restored with them.
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Reference Passage : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
…We walk by faith, trusting that God will lead us on His way and in His timing.

Reference Passage : … Romans 8:28 [NKJV] … 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
… But when we’re challenged by delays, we need to believe this and then live by it, realizing - by faith - that God is ALWAYS in control.

Reference Passage : … 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul shows us that, as Christians, we walk by faith and NOT by sight.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, related a scenario with which we can all identify to illustrate that our our walk is by faith and not by sight. The ODB author wrote: A global computer system outage causes widespread flight cancellations, stranding hundreds of thousands of passengers at airports [see photo]. During a winter storm, multiple auto accidents close major highways. The person who promised to send a reply “right away” has failed to do so. Delays can often produce anger and frustration, but as followers of Jesus, we have the privilege of looking to Him for help. 

So often in life our patience and faith is tested by delays, such as the ones described above [again, see photo]. And I must admit, I’m not a very good example of Christlikeness when it comes to the fruit of the Spirit, … PATIENCE. It’s when we can’t get what we want, especially when our desires are blocked for a long time, that we find our faith being tested.

In the OT, Joseph (in the highlight passage) is a great example of a believer who learned to, as Paul put it (in 2Cor. 5:7), … “walk by faith and not by sight.” Time after time Joseph was severely delayed and tested by life’s circumstances going against him. But his faith that God was in it all pulled him thru and he was able, in God’s perfect timing and providence, to be reunited with his family and save them from possible starvation.

How often, in our walk of faith, as sung by the Gettys, are we challenged in life when our path is thwarted and we don’t get what we’d like to have? All too often, I think. Perhaps today, if we’re being delayed in some frustrating way, we need to take heart, believing and living by the truth that God gave us, thru Paul, in Romans 8:28.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for Your perfect timing.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me to really trust You … at ALL times, in ALL circumstances so that I can walk by faith and not by sight. … 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, January 17, 2018

January 17, 2018 … Thank You, Jesus!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 17 

Devotional Song:GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with lyrics and praise from Dennis Jernigan singing his song … Thank You Lord … poignantly, in worship, singing of our thanks to our God, Who made everything for our good and His glory.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1 Samuel 7:8 [NLT] … 36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen. 
… Paul puts life in perspective for us all … in thankfulness because it all comes from in is for our God’s glory.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Romans 11:33-36 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Really all we have and ever will have comes from our Lord.
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Reference Passage : … Colossians 1:15-16 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus made it all … all for His glory.

Reference Passage : … James 1:18 [NLT] … 17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. 
… Everything good in our lives in our lives comes from God, and some things we don’t see as “good” are, in fact, for our good (see also Romans 8:28).

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Lisa Samra, cites a truth from a line of poetry from George Herbert to illustrate just how thankful we should be to our God. The ODB author wrote: Would you like to cultivate a greater sense of gratitude? George Herbert, a seventeenth-century British poet, encourages readers toward that goal in his poem “Gratefulness”: “Thou that hast given so much to me, give one thing more: a grateful heart.” 
Herbert recognized the only thing he needed in order to be thankful was simply an awareness of the blessings God had already given him. 

The ODB author’s question is a good one for conviction - at least for me; because I do realize that I need to develop a deeper sense of gratitude … like that Dennis Jernigan wrote into the devotional song linked above. Perhaps any reader here joins me in realizing, as Paul wrote about in today’s highlight passage, God made all - i.e., EVERYTHING - that He created for our good and His glory. 

So, as Romans 8:28 declares (I hope you know this one by heart) … that ALL THINGS - not some things, but ALL THINGS - do work together for our good. So, even some things that we can’t see as “good,” things and may even seem “bad,” are in reality for our good; and we should be thanking God for them rather than stewing in our ungratefulness [see also James 1:17].

So, how about joining me in a prayer of thankfulness today, … even if it’s a stretch to FEEL thankful. And, fellow Christian, as the attached photo depicts, we should declare our thanks, as I write it here, … if for no other reason than for saving us.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You, Lord for Your saving grace and for giving me the faith to repent and receive it.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I’m here because of You; and I will be with You forever … BECAUSE OF YOU. So, thank You, 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.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

January 16, 2018 … His Power in My Prayer

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 16 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with images and lyrics from Twila Paris and Dennis Jernigan singing this song … On My Knees … poignantly and powerfully singing of our need to get on our needs when we need God’s power in our lives.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1 Samuel 7:8 [NLT] … 8 “Don’t stop pleading with the Lord our God to save us from the Philistines!” they begged Samuel. 
… God’s people had faith in Samuel’s connection with God and that God would answer his prayers. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1 Samuel 7:7-14 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet Samuel prayed for Israel’s deliverance from the Philistines; and God answered their prayer by confessing the enemy.
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Reference Passage : … Psalm 63:1-4 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God is MY GOD; and early each day I will seek Him in prayer.

Reference Passage : … Psalm 116:1-2 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… My God bends down to hear my prayers anytime and anywhere I pray.

Reference Passage : … Matthew 7:7-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus promises that prayer works. Enough said!!

Reference Passage : … Hebrews 13:8 [NLT] … 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 
 … Since Jesus never changes, so His promises never change either!

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, uses a personal remembrance of a story about prayer power in the Old Testament which helped her gain peace thru prayer. The ODB author wrote: One day, when I was deeply concerned about the welfare of one close to me, I found encouragement in part of the Old Testament story of Samuel, a wise leader of the Israelites. As I read how Samuel interceded for God’s people as they faced trouble, I strengthened my resolve to pray for the one I loved. 

I hope NO ONE reading here thinks that our prayer power is any less than it was for Samuel in the aforementioned story from the highlight passage today. Because if you don’t believe the story above about Samuel praying is true, you can quit reading right here because I believe God answered His prayer and the Philistines were defeated because of His prayer.

I also know that God will hear my prayers just like a father will bend down to hear the words of his child (see Psalm 116:1-2). And finally, I know that Jesus has promised that my prayers, when in tune with His will, are heard and answered (see Matthew 7:7-8); and since Jesus never changes (see Heb. 13:8), I know that my prayer have just as much power as did Samuel’s in the Old Testament.

So, whether you believe it or not, I do; and I will be here every morning starting my day by offering up my “Ebenezer” to my God [see the story in 1st Samuel to know what that means]; … and praying the words of Psalm 63:1-4, praising God ... who is MY GOD. 

Good way to start the day, isn’t it?

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for hearing me as I prayer … even today. 
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I’m here this morning, as I am each day, knowing that you hear my payers. … 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, January 15, 2018

January 15, 2018 … Unity in Diversity

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 15 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with images and lyrics from the group Casting Crowns singing their song … If We Are the Body … poignantly and powerfully singing of the challenge to us as Christians to grow in Christlikeness TOGETHER and to work TOGETHER for Christ no matter how diverse we are.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Colossians 3:11 [NLT] … 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized,[b] slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
… No matter whom we are, we must pursuit unity in Christ in our pursuit of Christlikeness.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Colossians 3:9-17 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
 … Paul’s exhortation and instruction for a very diverse set of Christians - like us - to be unified in their pursuit of Christlikeness and their expression of love thru how they live.
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Reference Passage : … Romans 3:29-30 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Only one God justifies and saves us all … Jews and Gentiles alike.

Reference Passage : … 1 Corinthians 12:27 [NLT] … 27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 
… If we are truly IN CHRIST, then no matter who we are, we are part of HIS BODY.

Reference Passage : … Galatians 3:28 [NLT] … 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 
 … We Christians are all ONE in Christ Jesus!

Reference Passage : … Ephesians 4:3-4 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, commands His Church to be united as ONE BODY to spread His love and peace in this world.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, uses a personal reference to teach on how God charges us, as part of His body, the Church, to word TOGETHER to spread His Kingdom Gospel truth. The ODB author wrote: Growing up during the 1950s, I never questioned racism and the segregation practices that permeated daily life in the city where we lived. In schools, restaurants, public transportation, and neighborhoods, people with different shades of skin color were separated. 
My attitude changed in 1968 when I entered US Army Basic Training. Our company included young men from many different cultural groups. We soon learned that we needed to understand and accept each other, work together, and accomplish our mission. 

I was also one of those young people, growing up in the 50s-60s when there was much turmoil in our land with regard to racial and gender inequality. But not being Christian then, I only felt pressure to seek after equality for social justice, not seeing that there was a higher Authority commanding His called ones to seek after the equality that He calls for from His Church.

And now that I am a Christian, reading the calls of God, thru the letters Paul wrote to Christians (and to us now in the passages above), one cannot escape the message that we all may be different, as Christians, but we are ONE BODY, i.e., His Church, and we should be, as Casting Crowns sings, reaching out - as His body - to share His love and His message to a lost world.

So my conviction today, from the song - and even more from God’s word, is to do all I can today - and tomorrow - to use what gifts/talents He has given me to share my Lord’s love with others. 

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for saving me from myself to be Yourself to others.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me to be Your eyes, Your most, Your feet, and Your hands … to be part of Your Body reaching out to others. … Amen

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

Sunday, January 14, 2018

January 14, 2018 … My Good Shepherd

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 14 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with images from Marty Goetz singing his arrangement of … Psalm 23 … poignantly singing where Jesus, as our Good Shepherd, will lead all who surrender to Him as Lord and follow Him.


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Highlight Verse[s]: John 10:27 [NLT] … 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. … Those who know the Good Shepherd follow Him faithfully.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 10:6-29 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd, declaring that He is truly the Son of God. 
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Reference Passage : … Psalm 23 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… David’s song about His Good Shepherd.

Reference Passage : …Luke 12;6-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Because I acknowledge Jesus as my Good Shepherd and Lord, He acknowledges me to the Angels as one of His flock

Reference Passage : …John 3:16 [NLT] … I hope you know this one! 
… God loves us just this much.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author,Bill Crowder, references a famous children’s hymn to illustrate just how much God knows His flock and loves us anyway. The ODB author wrote: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so” is the message of one of Christian music’s most enduring songs, particularly for children. Written by Anna B. Warner in the 1800s, this lyric tenderly affirms our relationship with Him—we are loved.
 Someone gave my wife a plaque for our home that gives these words a fresh twist by flipping that simple idea. It reads, “Jesus knows me, this I love.” This provides a different perspective on our relationship with Him—we are known. 

I’ve always thought that the biblical picture of Jesus as “The Good Shepherd” in Psalm 23 and John, chapter 10 was a good one, depicting the relationship Jesus had (has) with His flock. And if one studies that analogy, we come away with the message that only those in the flock who hear the Shepherd’s voice and follow Him will receive His saving grace.

So, today’s ODB and my follow-up here simply asks us …
...  Is Jesus our Good Shepherd? 
... Do we hear His voice? 
... Are we following Him? 

 If we (you) can say “YES” to all of those, as our Good Shepherd, … as King David declared in his song, … Jesus will lead us out of the valley of the shadow of death, to dwell with Him forever beside the living, eternal waters in His garden.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for leading me into Your eternal garden. 
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I will follow my Good Shepherd wherever He leads 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.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

January 13, 2018 … Slow To Anger

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 13 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with lyrics and song from the Maranatha Singers singing the old hymn … Great Is Thy Faitherulness … poignantly singing of the unchanging and faithful nature of God which is slow to anger and with His mercies new every morning.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Exodus 34:6 [NLT] … 6 The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, … “Yahweh! … The Lord!  The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. 7 I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations 
… Moses learns His God’s character, which is slow to anger and filled with love and faithfulness. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Exodus 33:18-19, 34:1-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God reveals to Moses His Name and His character
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Reference Passage : … Proverbs 19:11 [NLT] … 11 Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. 
… If we imitate God we will control our anger.

Reference Passage : … Lamentations 3:22-23 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Our God is faithful and His mercies are new every morning … just as ours should be to others every day.

Reference Passage : …Galatians 5:22-23 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul lists characteristics of Christlikeness, which includes … patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

Reference Passage : …James 1:19 [NLT] … 19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 
… God, thru James, exhorts Christians to pursue Christlikeness and be slow to anger.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Linda Washington, related a personal story of how her personal perception of God’s character was influenced by her education. The ODB author wrote: When I studied Greek and Roman mythology in college, I was struck by how moody and easily angered the mythological gods were in the stories. The people on the receiving end of their anger found their lives destroyed, sometimes on a whim. 
I was quick to scoff, wondering how anyone could believe in gods like that. But then I asked myself, Is my view of the God who actually exists much different? Don’t I view Him as easily angered whenever I doubt Him? Sadly, yes. 

Often, I believe, we let ideas from the world or cultural paradigms influence how we see God. And so, when circumstances don’t go our way, especially for a long period of time, we think of God like an angry boss or distant father figure. But as Moses learned (see highlight passage), his God, … Yahweh, … Who is our God of course, was no where near like that.

And when we could finally see God in the flesh in His Son, Jesus, we really got the accurate picture of the character of God. And so, when you take in and meditate on the scriptures above, that picture is one of a God, our LORD, King Jesus, who was/is never changing, always faithful, slow to anger, and always willing to dole out His love, His mercy, and His grace to those who obediently follow Him.

Personally, I come here every day to glean from His word more about my King Jesus so that I can do all I can to become just like Him; and I will continue to do so, … so that my character can imitate His (see all the reference passages, especially Gal 5:22-23.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for revealing the real You thru Your Son and describing Yourself completely in Your word.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me to become more like You today and even more tomorrow. … 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.