Monday, April 30, 2018

April 29, 2018 … Unshackled Forever!!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 119 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Zach Williams singing his song … Chain Breaker … powerfully singing of how those of us who’ve been freed from the chains of sin by the “Chain Breaker” need to testify to that freedom to others shackled in their chains now.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Ephesians 1:7 [NLT] … 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 
… As the linked song sings, “may all who come behind us find us faithful” to our Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ!
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Highlight Passage [context]: Ephesians 1:3-14 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… Paul teaches of the blessing of freedom from the shackles of sin found when we repent of our past sinfulness and believe in the “Chain Breaker,” our Savior, King Jesus!
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Reference Passage : … Lamentations 3:22-23 [NLT] … 22  The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies never cease. 23  Great is His faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
… God is always merciful and faithful and willing to share His mercy with those who’ve surrendered to His Spirit

Reference Passage : … John 8:31-32 [NLT] … 31 Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 
… We who have rested our faith in Jesus and His teaching find freedom from the chains of our sin nature thru His grace.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, used a touching image of how we, as Christians, are set free from the chains of sin (see photo) when we receive the saving grace which comes from our faith in the “Chain Breaker” … The ODB author wrote: We found our visit to Christ Church Cathedral in Stone Town, Zanzibar, deeply moving, for it sits on the site of what was formerly the largest slave market in East Africa. The designers of this cathedral wanted to show through a physical symbol how the gospel breaks the chains of slavery. No longer would the location be a place of evil deeds and horrible atrocities, but of God’s embodied grace. 
Those who built the cathedral wanted to express how Jesus’s death on the cross provides freedom from sin—that which the apostle Paul speaks of in his letter to the church at Ephesus: “In him we have redemption through his blood” (Ephesians 1:7). 

I really don’t think I need to write any further explanation if any reader here takes the time to hear the linked song by Zach Williams and meditate on the scriptures above.

King Jesus is our “Chain Breaker,” isn’t He? And when we come to Him with repentant faith in His finished work on the cross, as in the photo, our shackles of sin are broken forever. Can I get a witness of praise and a resounding HALLELUJAH?!!

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for setting me free from myself. 
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Let me testify openly and often to any who’ll listen of how you set me free from my shackles of sin. … 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, April 29, 2018

April 29, 2018 … Ringing the Bell of Faith

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 119 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Steve Green singing … Find Us Faithful … poignantly singing of how re run the race of life to faithfully give witness to the faithfulness of our Savior in all things.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Hebrews 3:6 [NLT] … 6 But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.
… As the linked song sings, “may all who come behind us find us faithful” to our Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ!
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Highlight Passage [context]: Hebrews 3:1-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru the author of Hebrews show believers to keep their (our) eyes on the One Who commanded us to be faithful to His commands.
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Reference Passage : … Isaiah 26:3 [NLT] … 3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! 
… When we focus on following Christ, we can find peace - God’s peace - in life … no matter what the circumstances might be.

Reference Passage : … Luke 9:23 [NLT] … 23 Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow Me. …” 
… Jesus commanded His disciples [that’s us!] to deny ourselves and be His followers … no matter what!

Reference Passage : … John 14:21 [NLT] … 21 Those who accept My commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love Me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” 
… Jesus commanded all who truly love Him to keep His commandments. … But, as Christians, are we?

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Arthur Jackson, used a personal remembrance of a person in his life who left a legacy of faithfulness to our Lord, encouraging us to do the same. … The ODB author wrote: If there ever was a faithful person, it was Brother Justice. He was committed to his marriage, dedicated to his job as a postal worker, and each Sunday stood at his post as a leader in our local church. I visited my childhood church recently, and perched on the upright piano was the same bell that Brother Justice rang to notify us that the time for Bible study was about to end. The bell has endured the test of time. And although Brother Justice has been with the Lord for years, his legacy of faithfulness also endures. 

Often in life we are confronted with frustration, aren’t we? But today’s ODB author presents a model of how we can thwart frustration in our lives by remaining faithful to focusing on and following our Lord.

Please take the time to take in the linked YouTube song today; and then meditate on the scriptures and ask yourself, as I’m asking myself today, if we are keeping our minds/hearts focused on our Lord’s commands so as to deny ourselves and faithfully follow Him.

Because if we are, we may not be free from frustrations all the time; but we can have His peace, knowing that we’re following our Master to His goal for us … to spend eternity with Him. 

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for showing me THE way … YOUR way! 
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Shine Your light clearly on my path, Lord, so that I can be faithful and follow You. … Amen

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

Saturday, April 28, 2018

April 28, 2018 … Growing In His Image

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 118 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Joy Williams singing her song … Do They See Jesus In Me … poignantly singing of how we Christians must do all we can to reflect the person Jesus is remaking into His images.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 2 Timothy 1:11 [NLT] … 11 And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News.
… When God lays a task before us, as He did Paul, He’ll give us what we need to give Him the glory.  ==============
Highlight Passage [context]: Proverbs 8:10-21 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK … https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Timothy+1%3A6-14&version=NLT 
… God teaches Timothy (and us) that when will live for Him, He gives us the grace to do so, no matter what the task is we face.  
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Reference Passage : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… When we trust in God to show us His way, no matter what we do in His Name, He will give us what it takes.

Reference Passage : … Isaiah 41:10[NLT] … 10  Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. 
… No matter what we do in God’s Name and for His glory, He will empower us.

Reference Passage : … Romans 8:28 [NLT] … 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.
… No matter what circumstance we’re in, as Christians, it is for our good and His glory.

Reference Passage : … 1 Corinthians 10:13 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, reminds us that no matter what temptation or trial we face, He is faithful to show us a way to deal with life.

Reference Passage : … Philippians 1:6 [NLT] … 6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. 
… Trust that God is giving us ways - in all we do - to become more like Him.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Xochitl Dixon, used a personal situation to show how God gives us what it takes to be like Him in all we think, say, and do. … The ODB author wrote: When my son’s teacher asked me to serve as a chaperone for their science camp [see photo], I hesitated. How could I be a role model when mistakes littered my past, when I still struggled, stumbled, and slipped into old bad habits? God helped me love and raise my son, but I often doubted He could use me to serve others. 
Sometimes I still fail to recognize that God—the only perfect One, the only One who can change hearts and lives—transforms us over time. 

I’m sure we all, at some time, have felt inadequate to some challenge or daunting task like the ODB author in his personal story above. However, as Christians, we need to realize and remember that God takes us thru life for our good and His glory (see reference passages above). And so we need to have confidence that our God is going to give us what it takes to deal with those circumstances as we live them out and grow into His images.

So, today, let’s go out - no matter what is in front of us - and, like Joy Williams sings, let others see Jesus in us.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for empowering me with Your grace and gifting.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Lift me up today to let others see Your light in the way I live for You. … Amen

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

Friday, April 27, 2018

April 27, 2018 … Wanting Wisdom!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 117 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of song and lyrics from Kathy Trocolli singing her song … I Will Choose Christ … poignantly singing of how we Christians must CHOOSE God’s way and His will over the selfish pursuits of self.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Proverbs 8:10-11 [NLT] … 10  Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold.11  For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. 
… When we see wisdom as more valuable than gold, we will be pursuing the very mind of God. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Proverbs 8:10-21 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Wisdom from God is seen as the most valuable commodity in our lives.
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Reference Passage : … 1 Kings 3:1-15 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, in a dream, offers Solomon anything he wants; and the King chooses God’s understanding (i.e., wisdom).

Reference Passage : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… When we trust in God to show us His way, we are receiving Gods wisdom rather than relying on our own knowledge.

Reference Passage : … 1st Timothy 6:9-10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul advises Timothy and Christians to avoid the trap of pursuing worldly wealth over the pursuit of the mind of Christ.

Reference Passage : … James 1:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… James exhorts Christians to be in full out pursuit of wisdom from God, Who will give it freely to the one who trusts completely in the Lord.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, used a quote from a prominent British journalist, who came to Christ later in his life, to teach on the value of Godly wisdom over earthly wealth. … The ODB author wrote: Malcolm Muggeridge, the noted British journalist and social critic, came to faith in Christ at the age of sixty. On his seventy-fifth birthday he offered twenty-five insightful observations about life. One said, “I never met a rich man who was happy, but I have only very occasionally met a poor man who did not want to become a rich man.” 

Solomon is often reported to be the wisest man in history, … other than Jesus, of course. And there was a time in Solomon’s life when he valued Godly wisdom more than earthly power or wealth (see 1Kings 3:1-15). And this pursuit of the mind of God resulted in the wisdom literature of the Book of Proverbs, where we read much of God’s wise advise to mankind … as penned by Solomon.

BUT … Solomon, later in his kingship. let his fleshly desires take reign over his pursuit of wisdom as he pursued the idolatry of the flesh [in women] over the wisdom of God. And when we read the Book of Ecclesiastes, we read Solomon’s regret and insights to mankind … that we should humbly pursue the mind of God, avoiding the pitfalls of vanity and self indulgence.

And yes, when we live by the advice of Solomon in Proverbs and God thru NT authors, like Paul and James (see Scriptures above), we will know that pursuit of God’s will, His way, and His mind is worth FAR MORE valuable than any pursuit of worldly gain or selfish pleasure. And I pray that’s our pursuit today … and even more for tomorrow.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for being willing to give me Your wisdom when I seek it faithfully.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help us, as Your children, to avoid the pitfalls of pleasure and see the grace of enlightenment which comes in our headlong pursuit of Your wisdom. … 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, April 26, 2018

April 26, 2018 … A Faith Harvest

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 116 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of positive quotations and and the faith-building song by Sara Groves … It’s Going To Be Alright … poignantly singing of the reality that we can rely on God in the dire circumstances of life.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 6:32-33 [NLT] … 32 These things [i.e., fleshly needs] dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. 
… Jesus shows His followers that they must rely FIRST on God for their needs rather than focusing on worldly or selfish solutions.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 2 Kings 4:1-7 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… A widow trusts God for her needs and God uses Elisha to provide for her family. 
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Reference Passage : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… God will show us the way in our time of need.

Reference Passage : … Matthew 14:15-21 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… Jesus show the people that HE is the one to rely on for their needs.

Reference Passage : … Philippians 4:19 [NLT] … 19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. 
… In need? Well, Jesus will supply our needs.

Reference Passage : … 1st Peter 5:7 [NLT] … 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. 
… God is always the One we go to FIRST when we have cares.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Poh Fang Chia, used a story from his country of a widow who gleaned her livelihood from harvesting the sap of rubber trees, which reminded the author of a similar Bible story involving a widow and Elisha [see highlight passage]. … The ODB author wrote: It is pitch dark when Ah-pi starts her day. Others in the village will wake up soon to make their way to the rubber plantation. Harvesting latex is one of the main sources of income for people living in Hongzhuang Village, China. To collect as much latex as possible, the trees must be tapped very early in the morning, before daybreak [see photo]. Ah-pi will be among the rubber tappers, but first she will spend time communing with God. 
Ah-pi’s father, husband, and only son have passed away, and she—with her daughter-in-law—is providing for an elderly mother and two young grandsons. Her story reminds me of another widow in the Bible who trusted God. 

I think we’ve all been in dire circumstances where we just couldn’t see a way to meet our needs. And that’s what the widow experienced in the highlight passage. But the needy widow knew Whom she should rely on - first and foremost; and that was God. And God, thru Elisha showed her THE way to meet her family needs. And the miracles wrought by Elisha and earlier his mentor, Elijah, in the Bible were meant to foreshadow the miracles which Jesus would perform, like the feeding of thousands with just a few loaves and fishes (see Matt. 14:15-21).

Jesus also preached strongly about relying on God FIRST when we’re in need (see Matt. 6:32-33). So the question for me [us] today is clearly … do I [we] rely - first and foremost - on my [our] God for my [our] needs. Or in my case, am I too strongly relying on my own strengths or the ways of the world. And I don’t know about any reader with me here, but I’m under a bit of conviction that I need to relent control and go to my God when I’m in need (see reference passages above). 

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for being the Provider of ALL of our needs. 
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me to see that I must go to YOU first for my needs. … 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, April 25, 2018

April 25, 2018 … Restored to Wholeness

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 115 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from The Gaither Vocal Band singing the Gaither classic … He Touched Me … poignantly singing of the reality that we can only be whole in the restoration provided by the healing touch of salvation from our Savior.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Daniel 4:34 [NLT] … 34 “After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. … “ 
… Nebuchadnezzar testifies to God after being restored to his kingship after having lost his identity and mind.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Daniel 4:28-37 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… The curious and wondrous encounter of Nebuchadnezzar with God and the king’s miraculous restoration and praise of God after losing his identity.
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Reference Passage : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God will show us the way out of our darkness, if - and only IF - we’re willing to trust Him.

Reference Passage : … John 16:33 [NLT] … 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” 
… Jesus has overcome the stresses of the world. Hence, the only way to peace is to trust and follow Him.

Reference Passage : … Philippians 4:6-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… If we’re looking for God’s peace … this is the key!!

Reference Passage : … Hebrews 13:5b [NLT] … 5 … For God has said, … “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” 
… Even when we feel lost in our search of self and identity, God will never leave us.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Mart DeHaan, used a curious comparison to someone coming back to wholeness having suffered from amnesia to illustrate how our God restores us when we trust in Him. … The ODB author wrote: Emergency Services in Carlsbad, California, came to the rescue of a woman with an Australian accent who couldn’t recall who she was. Because she was suffering from amnesia and had no ID with her, she was unable to provide her name or where she had come from. It took the help of doctors and international media to restore her health, tell her story, and reunite her with her family.

There was a long period in my life when I floundered in selfishness, not really knowing who I was. However, at age 39 God’s Spirit touched my spiritual amnesia with the reality of my Savior; and I was restored to wholeness and clarity of mind as my relationship with Christ blossomed. Perhaps there are some readers here who identify with having been raised from spiritual amnesia to clarity of mind/heart.

But others reading here may not have had a dramatic touch from God like me or Nebuchadnezzar in the highlight ODB passage, where you lost your way in life, but then was restored to mind/heart by God. Perhaps your growth into the wholeness of a relationship with Jesus has been steady all your life, having been saved at a young age.

But, no matter how we come to an abiding and trusting surrender to follow our Lord, when we do, He is there to lead us, guide us, and protect us. I pray that for all of us here today.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for breaking me of my blindness to You; and giving me the change of heart/mind which allowed me to find You.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I am 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.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

April 24, 2018 … Waiting on God

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 114 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Steven Curtis Chapman singing … Be Still and Know … poignantly singing of the difficulty we have of waiting on God’s prevailing sovereignty.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 70:5 [NLT] … 5  But as for me, I am poor and needy; please hurry to my aid, O God. You are my helper and my savior; O Lord, do not delay. 
… David laments in a time of trial when God seemed so far away.

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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalms 70 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… David feels that God is far away and he prays, in song, for God to deliver him from his trials. ============

Reference Passage : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… It’s really tough sometimes to live out the truth that EVERYTHING we encounter as Christians is for our good and God’s glory.

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. 
… Yes, even the most difficult things in our lives are for our God as Christians.

Reference Passage : … Hebrews 13:5-6 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… God watches over everything that happens in our lives; and He will (would) never leave us of forsake us.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David H Roper, used an illustration with which we can all identify to teach on the frustration of waiting on God to help in the midst of trials. … The ODB author wrote: “Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night . . . . Everyone is just waiting”—or so Dr. Seuss, author of many children’s books, says. So much of life is about waiting, but God is never in a hurry—or so it seems. “God has His hour and delay,” suggests an old, reliable saying. Thus we wait. 
Waiting is hard [see photo]. We twiddle our thumbs, shuffle our feet, stifle our yawns, heave long sighs, and fret inwardly in frustration. Why must I live with this awkward person, this tedious job, this embarrassing behavior, this health issue that will not go away? Why doesn’t God come through? God’s answer: “Wait awhile and see what I will do.” 

If you’ve read the highlight scripture, where David was frustrated that God seemed distant when David was frustrated by life’s circumstances, many of you readers may be thinking, ... “Yeah, ... been there, done that, ... got that T-shirt!”

 Sure; ... as followers of Christ, we’ve all had trials where we wanted God to intervene ... NOW; ... but He seems to want us to wait on Him. Or in the words of the linked song, God, as we wait on Him to intervene, He seems to be saying, ... “Be still and know that I am God.”

I hope, and pray below, that we all can have faith and trust that God will never leave us (Heb. 13:5-6 ) and that all things, no matter how frustrating are for our good and our growth in Him (Rom. 8:28). So, as we deal with frustrations today, let’s just trust our Lord to show us the way ... His way (Prov. 3:5-6)

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for ALWAYS being there to do what I need ... when I need it.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Be with all who’ve come here to know You more intimately ... to wait on You to show us the way today. … Amen

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

Monday, April 23, 2018

April 23, 2018 … Peace In A Person

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 112 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of song and lyrics from Don Moen singing sing the only hymn … Wonderful Peace … poignantly singing of the reality the only way to find peace in our lives .. in the depth of an abiding relationship with Jesus.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 2nd Thessalonians 3:16 [NLT] … 16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all. 
… Paul showing fellow Christians that their peace could only come thru their relationship with Christ.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 2nd Thessalonians 3:16-18 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… Paul wished nothing but God’s grace and peace upon fellow Christians who were being persecuted.
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Reference Passage : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… Peace only really comes when we trust in God to show us the way in life.

UIKeyInputDownArrowReference Passage : … Isaiah 26:3 [NLT] … 3  You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! 
… God’s prescription for peace is to focus and rely on Him.

Reference Passage : … John 16:33 [NLT] 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” 
… Jesus has overcome the stresses of the world. Hence, the only way to peace is to trust and follow Him.

Reference Passage : … Philippians 4:6-7 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… If we’re looking for God’s peace … this is the key!!

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Keila Ochoa, used a personal story about about a friend who had found deep/abiding peace by trusting in Jesus. … The ODB author wrote: Grace is a very special lady. One word comes to mind when I think of her: peace. The quiet and restful expression on her face has seldom changed in the six months I have known her, even though her husband was diagnosed with a rare disease and then hospitalized. When I asked Grace the secret of her peace, she said, “It’s not a secret, it’s a person. It’s Jesus in me. There is no other way I can explain the quietness I feel in the midst of this storm.” 
The secret of peace is our relationship to Jesus Christ. He is our peace. When Jesus is our Savior and Lord, and as we become more like Him, peace becomes real. 

Would anybody out there, besides myself, like more peace in our lives … in the midst of all the chaos, stresses, and trials of life? … DUH!!! … Of course we do!!

Well, the ODB author today points to a lady, her friend “Grace,” who had discovered the key to living a more peaceful life; … and that key was her relationship with Christ. And if we take in the linked song and the Scriptures above, we find that anyone can have more peace … simply, but challengingly, by surrendering our lives to the One, … the ONLY ONE, … Who has overcome the trials and stresses of this life and that is our Lord, King Jesus.

So, lets all seek to take in God’s prescription for peace in our lives, by giving our all to a more abiding relationship with our Lord.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for offering and providing us with Your peace in the midst of the storms of life.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I know You are my peace; … now all I’ve got to do is receive it … from YOU!! … Amen

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

Sunday, April 22, 2018

April 22, 2018 … He Knows EVERYTHING!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 112 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …   … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of song and lyrics from Carrie Underwood and Michel W Smith singing … All Is Well … poignantly singing of the reality of our lives covered by the truth of God’s sovereignty.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 145:9 [NLT] … 9  The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation. 
… God so loves us as His creation that He’s willing to have compassion on our sinful selves. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalms 145:8-10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
… Our God shows goodness on EVERYONE (see v.9)
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Reference Passage : … Matthew 10:29-31 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… Jesus knows EVERYTHING about the creation He values the most.

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. 
… Yes, even the most difficult things in our lives are for our God as Christians.

Reference Passage : … Philippians 4:6-7 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… No need for anti-anxiety meds if we really believed this was truth.

Reference Passage : … Hebrews 13:5-6 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… God watches over everything that happens in our lives; and He will (would) never leave us of forsake us.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, James Banks, used a personal story about his dog to jokingly illustrate that God is in ALL the details of our lives. … The ODB author wrote: When my “chocolate” Labrador retriever puppy was three months old, I took him to the veterinarian’s office for his shots and checkup. As our vet carefully looked him over, she noticed a small white marking in his fur on his left hind paw. She smiled and said to him, “That’s where God held you when He dipped you in chocolate.” 
I couldn’t help but laugh. But she had unintentionally made a meaningful point about the deep and personal interest God takes in His creation. 

What would our lives be like if we really believed the truth from God’s word in those scriptures above? Would I worry as much about tomorrow if I KNEW … and REALLY believed … that God knew EVERYTHING about me; and that He loved me anyway? Would I fear the unknown, and even threatening circumstances if I really believed that God was in TOTAL control? Would I be stressed out if I could not understand what was going on at any moment in my life?

My answer is a negative to all of those; but I’ll let you answer those questions for yourselves.  But for years I’ve contended that if we really - in the depth of our hearts as Christians - believed in the truth of - let’s say Romans 8:28 or Hebrews 13:5 - then the market for anti-depressants and even headache medicines would plummet. If we really took God’s prescription for anxiety in Phil. 4:6-7 seriously, we’d be well on our way to a more peaceful world, . wouldn’t we? …

Am I right; … or ... AM I RIGHT?!!!

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for knowing all about me and loving me anyway!!
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me to believe Your truth and then live it! … 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, April 21, 2018

April 21, 2018 … Just Open the Door

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 111 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of song and lyrics from Clay Crosse, BeBe Winans, and Bob Carlisle singing … I Will Follow Christ … poignantly singing of what a disciple of Christ must do … to give all and follow Him no matter where He leads.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Jeremiah 2:1-2 [NLT] … 1 The Lord gave me another message. He said, 2 “Go and shout this message to Jerusalem. This is what the Lord says: “I remember how eager you were to please me as a young bride long ago, how you loved me and followed me even through the barren wilderness. 
… God remembering their vows to follow Him even in the wilderness.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Jeremiah 2:1-8; 3:14-15 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God thru Jeremiah to His people, prophesying their fall and restoration.
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Reference Passage : … Luke 9:23 [NLT] … 23 Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow Me. …” 
… Jesus says we must follow Him … no matter where He leads.

Reference Passage : … Revelation 2:4-5, 3:20 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus’ letters to His Bride … to Ephesus that they had lost their first love … to Laodicea that they need to respond to His invitation to let Him back into their lives.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Kirsten Holmberg, used a personal story about how we can sing praises to the Lord with a joyful heart even if we are not talented singers. … The ODB author wrote: As I flipped through a box of my old wedding photographs, my fingers stopped at a picture of my husband and me, newly christened “Mr. and Mrs.” My dedication to him was obvious in my expression. I would go anywhere with him. 
Nearly four decades later, our marriage is tightly threaded with love and a commitment that has carried us through both hard and good times. Year after year, I’ve recommitted my dedication to go anywhere with him. 

The mutual commitment made in marriage vows is a good word picture for our lives as Christians, isn’t it? When we receive His saving grace, we’re entering into a marriage covenant, … becoming part of His Bride, the Church, and vowing to follow Him anywhere that He might lead. 

Unfortunately, like His originally chosen ones, the Israelites, whom the Lord charged to follow Him, there can be a breach in those vows and His followers, being sin-bound as they were (and as we are), can, and do, break those vows and stray into infidelity.

That’s what happened with Israel in the highlight passage. It’s what happened with His church as we were led to follow our Bridegroom (see Luke 9:23); but so often we fall away from our FIRST LOVE and fail to follow Him as is sung in the linked song [see alsoRev. 2:4-5].

But our Bridegroom, King Jesus, Whom we follow as His bride, is ALWAYS willing to come to His Bride, … yes, even when we’ve been unfaithful. But we have to be willing to repent and re-open the door on His love (see Rev. 3:20]. So, today if we’ve fallen away from our First Love, King Jesus, know that He’s knocking at the door; and all we have to do is let Him back in.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for ALWAYS being there for Your Bride. 
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I hear You knocking, Lord; … come in and let me dine with You today and always. … Amen

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

Friday, April 20, 2018

April 20, 2018 … Prodigal Forgiveness

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 110 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and song from Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing their song … He’ll Do Whatever It takes … poignantly singing of wondrous forgiveness and saving grace offered by our Abba Father to any wayward lamb who has strayed from His flock as our Good Shepherd and comes back for the Father’s love.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 98:1a [NLT] … 20 “So he [the wayward son] returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 
… Jesus telling a parable to illustrate just how far God, our Father, is willing to go to take a wayward son back into he family.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Luke 15:11-24 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The wonderful parable of the lost son and the prodigal father, so faithfully willing to forgive a wayward son.
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Reference Passage : … Isaiah 53:6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… All of us are wayward sheep. But The Father, our Good Shepherd, was (and IS) willing to do whatever it takes to bring us back into the flock, … including sacrificing His own Son for us.

Reference Passage : … Romans 3:23 [NLT] … 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 
… We’ve all fallen short of God’s mark of holiness, steeped in sin. And none of us is deserving of His lavish forgiveness.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Kirsten Holmberg, used a personal story about how we can sing praises to the Lord with a joyful heart even if we are not talented singers. … The ODB author wrote: One afternoon I spent two hours at an art exhibit—The Father & His Two Sons: The Art of Forgiveness—in which all of the pieces were focused on Jesus’s parable of the prodigal son (see Luke 15:11–31). I found Edward Riojas’s painting The Prodigal Son especially powerful. [See photo] … 
I was deeply moved by realizing once more how God’s unchanging love has altered my life. When I walked away from Him, He didn’t turn His back, but kept looking, watching, and waiting. His love is undeserved yet unchanging; often ignored yet never withdrawn. 

Oh, how this tale (i.e., Jesus’ parable from Luke 15) has so defined my life as well. For 22 years of my life I had wandered away and lived in the pig-sty of my own sin; and yet, … when I came back to The Lord 35 years ago, He was there, receiving me with the open arms of a Good Shepherd who’d just found His wayward lamb. And with “prodigal” [which actually means “extravagant”] love, my Lord welcomed me into His arms and He’s never (and will never) quit loving me extravagantly.

After taking the time to hear the entire linked song and taking in the verses above, I hope all reading here feel the way I do about our loving, forgiving, PRODIGAL Father.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for waiting on me and then lavishly giving me Your love.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … May I crawl back into Your arms today for some of Your prodigal love. … 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, April 19, 2018

April 19, 2018 … PERFECT Peace

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 109 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of song and yrics of Steven Curtis Chapman singing … His Strength Is Perfect … poignantly singing of how God’s strength is always available to cover our weaknesses when we’re willing to focus on the Lord rather than on our selves.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Mark 4:39 [NLT] … 3  You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! 
… When we focus our lives, trustingly, on our relationship with Christ rather than our own desires, He will impart His “perfect peace” to us.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Isaiah 26:1-4 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Isaiah gives His prescription for peace … i.e., trusting in and focusing on our relationship with the Lord.
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Reference Passage : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… We can only follow God’s way when we focus on Him rather than our own understanding or perception of life.

Reference Passage : … Matthew 11:28-30 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
 … Jesus wants to give us healing rest; but we have to be willing to yoke ourselves His strength.

Reference Passage : … Philippians 4:6-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … God’s “peace that passes all understand” can be ours when we take our concerns to God in prayer rather than stewing in our own worries.

Reference Passage : … 1st Peter 5:7 [NLT] … 7 Give ALL your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. 
… It’s God’s invitation; but do we take Him up on it?

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, used a a quote from Dallas Willard about how we need to focus on Christ in our stressful lives to dampen the worries and take on God’s perfect peace. … The ODB author wrote: “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry.” When two friends repeated that adage by the wise Dallas Willard to me, I knew I needed to consider it. Where was I spinning my wheels, wasting time and energy? More important, where was I rushing ahead and not looking to God for guidance and help? In the weeks and months that followed, I remembered those words and reoriented myself back to the Lord and His wisdom. I reminded myself to trust in Him, rather than leaning on my own ways. 

Then the ODB author highlights a God-imparted prescription for obtaining and holding on to God’s peace … by referring to a prophecy of Isaiah’s in his journal - Chapter 26, Verse 3, which I memorized years ago and call it to my mind when I’m feeling stressed or worried. May I challenge any reader here, especially if one is feeling stressed now, to read that verse ALOUD [and slowly] three times and then see how you feel afterward … i.e, if of the worries have dissipated.

In that verse Isaiah makes reference to God giving His PERFECT PEACE to the one who focuses, with a humble/surrendered heart (implied), on his/her relationship with the Lord. And what God promises is “shalom-shalom” (look it up in the Hebrew), which means God’s “perfect, infinite, or eternal” PEACE.

And in the NT, Jesus promised that same “rest” from worry (see Matt. 11:29-30 as well as The Apostle Paul promising the Christian who takes his worries to God in prayer, God’s “peace that passes all understanding.” (See Phil. 4:6-7) In practical sense, all of this is saying that we can be concerned with circumstances in life; however, when we focus on our selves, that lapses into WORRY, which is sinful.

But when we’re willing to take our cares to a caring God (see 1st Peter 5:7) and focus on Him rather than ourselves [again, Is. 26:3], He will impart to us His grace to give us His peace. … Personally, I like that prescription; don’t you?

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for making Your PERFECT peace available to me.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Load me up with a big dose of Your peace to cover my selfish doubts, 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.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

April 18, 2018 … Fickle Feelings

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 108 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics of Jason Gray singing his song … Glow In The Dark … poignantly singing of we need to look past our feelings and stereotypes and see people with the light of our relationship with Christ.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Judges 11:29[NLT] … 29 At that time the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and from there he led an army against the Ammonites. 
… In the final accounting of his life Jephthah’s abilities and gifts rose above his heritage with his people coming for him to lead the people in battle.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Judges 11:1-8, 29 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… Jephthah was a mighty warrior, rejected by his people because of a rather questionable heritage. 
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Reference Passage : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Often people misjudge our present based upon faulty perceptions or assumptions about our past. But when we simply trust God to lead us, … HE WILL.

Reference Passage : … Hebrews 11:32-34 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Isaiah, promises to ALWAYS be there to lift us up in moments of trial/trouble.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Tim Gustafson, used a reference to a common question which is often used to delve into one’s life and make judgements on that person’s life base on his past or heritage. … The ODB author wrote: “Where are you from?” We often use that question to get to know someone better. But for many of us, the answer is complicated. Sometimes we don’t want to share all the details. 

How often do we stereotype and make judgements about people based on surface observations, like skin color, or partial information about one’s past? And often such profiling can lead to inaccurate or improper judgments about someone’s current abilities. That was the case in today’s highlight Old Testament passage about a leader of the people of Gilead named Jephthah.

Jephthah’s people had driven him out of their tribe based on the fact that his mother was a prostitute; but later when Gilead was threatened by the Ammonites, they came back to Jephthah, who is mentioned in God’s NT “Hall of Faith” (see Hebrews 11:32-34, to lead them in battle because of Jephthah’s then recognized leadership in warfare.

Lesson: We should “judge” people based on the fruit of their relationship with God and not on surface observations or past heritage. Watch the linked video, take in the attached photo, and then realize that we must not rely on our fickle human feelings to lead us, but rather God’s guiding light of truth (see Prov. 3:5-6).

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for leading us with Your light of truth. 
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me avoid letting my faulty perceptions and narrow sightedness get in the way of following Your truth. … Amen

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

April 17, 2018 … YES, He Is My God!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 107 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of song and lyrics from Steven Curtis Chapman singing … Be Still and Know … poignantly singing of how we need slow down, or even stop, to see that God is God and His love is ALWAYS there for us.


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Highlight Verse[s]: John 6:19-20 [NLT] … 19 They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, 20 but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” 
… Jesus shows His Disciples His divine power over everything.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 6:16-21 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… God tries to show more of Himself in the Person of Jesus walking on the water.
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Reference Passage : … Psalm 63:1 [NLT] … 1  O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you.
… Keep searching and KNOW that He is God.

Reference Passage : … John 10:30 [NLT] … 30 “I and the Father are one!” 
… Jesus’ clearest statement of Who He was (is).

Reference Passage : … Romans 8:28 [NLT] … 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. 
… We know that God is in control … even in the storms of life.

Reference Passage : … Hebrews 13:8 [NLT] … 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever! 
… True … but do we really believe it?

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Monica Brands, used a personal story to illustrate that God is still and ALWAYS God no matter what storm we may have to endure.. … The ODB author wrote: For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mother. I dreamed about getting married, getting pregnant, and holding my baby in my arms for the first time. When I finally got married, my husband and I never even considered waiting to expand our family. But with each negative pregnancy test [see photo], we realized we were struggling with infertility. Months of doctors’ visits, tests, and tears followed. We were in the middle of a storm. Infertility was a bitter pill to swallow and left me wondering about God’s goodness and faithfulness. 

In all of those three years that Jesus walked the earth with His 12 Disciples, He had to use miracles like that one in John 6 where He walked on water in a horrible storm to show His sovereignty over even the storms of life; … to show them that He was [and is] God!

When we go thru a personal storm, like the one the couple did in today’s ODB story above, God is taking us thru that storm to help us to get to know Him more intimately, … to see that He remains in control no matter our circumstances, … and to draw us closer to Himself [see Romans 8:28]. So, if any reader here is going thru a storm, stop and take in today’s linked song and realize that God is OUR GOD [Psalm 63]; and He will be in control no matter what storm we may be going thru. And the more intimately we get to know Him, the more we will love Him, obey Him, serve Him, and be blessed by Him.

But it all begins by getting to know Him more intimately today that yesterday; and even more abidingly tomorrow. That’s why you find me here … EVERY DAY … doing all I can to get to know my King, Jesus, in His word; because I know getting to know my Lord is getting to know my God (see John 10:30]. And EVERY DAY the truth of Hebrews 13:8 is confirmed … that our God never changes!

Our God loves me! And our God even walks on water!!

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for ALWAYS being the same and ALWAYS loving me.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me to know you more intimately thru Your word today than yesterday; … 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.

Monday, April 16, 2018

April 16, 2018 … Capturing Time

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 106 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group 4HIM singing their song … The Basics of Life … poignantly singing of getting back to the basics of our faith to defeat the post-modern and darkness of these evil days.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 39:4 [NLT] … 4 “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. 
… King David shows of his own (and our) vulnerability to our feelings and exhorts God’s people to take advantage of the time they (we) have for God’s glory.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalms 39:1-6 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist sings of remembering just how fleeting our time is here on earth
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Reference Passage : … Matthew 5:16 [NLT] … 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. 
… Jesus, exhorting His followers to let our light shine in all we say and do for others to see Christ’s light shining in the darkness of this world.

Reference Passage : … 1 Corinthians 7:29a [NLT] … 29 But let me say this, dear brothers and sisters: The time that remains is very short. … 
… Paul exhorting believers to remember what a brief and fleeting time we have in this life to give God the glory with how we use our time.

Reference Passage : … Ephesians 5:15-16 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul exhorts Christians to live wisely in these evil times.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Dave Branon, used a scientific reference to remind us of how important our time is for our witness while we have even a moment given to us by God for His glory. … The ODB author wrote: Scientists are pretty fussy about time. At the end of 2016, the folks at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland added an extra second to the year. So if you felt that year dragged on a bit longer than normal, you were right. Why did they do that? Because the rotation of the earth slows down over time [see photo], the years get just a tiny bit longer. When scientists track manmade objects launched into space, they must have accuracy down to the millisecond. … 
For most of us, a second gained or lost doesn’t make much difference. Yet according to Scripture, our time and how we use it is important. 

And if you’ve taken in and meditated on God’s word above you’ll see that both King David (in Psalm 39) and the Apostle Paul (in the reference passages) admonished believers to take the time we have very seriously, … primarily because in the eternal scheme of things, we have so little of it; and in our humanity, we tend to treat it so blithely and foolishly.

So, let’s all dig and capture the meaning - especially - of Ephesians 5:15-16 and do all we can today (and onward tomorrow) to maximize our use of the time we have to shine God’s light in the way we live, especially in these dark times.

 Jesus preached it (see Matthew 5:16); and so, … as the Nike slogan exhorts … let’s “JUST DO IT!” And … as the song charges us, let’s just get “back to the basics” of our faith and go about shining Christ’s light in the way we live.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for giving us Your light to shine in this darkened world.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … May I be or become Your light, shining from the way I live 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.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

April 15, 2018 … Sing Our Praises

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 105 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of song and lyrics of the Maranatha Singers singing … I Love Your Lord … poignantly singing of how must worship our Lord in song from joyous hearts which love our God.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 98:1a [NLT] … 1 Sing a new song to the Lord, for He has done wonderful deeds! … 
… God desires that we sing His praises … if not with a melodious voice, at least with a sincere heart. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 96:1, 98:1, 104:33 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist capture our need to lift up praises to our Lord in song.
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Reference Passage : … Colossians 3:15-17 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, exhorts Christians to sing their praises to the Lord.

Reference Passage : … James 5:13 [NLT] … 13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 
… We Christians to pray or sing praises at all times … whether we feel pain or joy.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Kirsten Holmberg, used a personal story about how we can sing praises to the Lord with a joyful heart even if we are not talented singers. … The ODB author wrote: When I was thirteen, my school required students to take four exploratory courses, including home economics, art, choir, and woodworking. On my first day in choir [see photo], the instructor called each student to the piano individually to hear their voices and place them in the room according to their vocal range. During my turn at the piano, I sang the notes she played multiple times, but wasn’t directed to a section in the room. Instead, after repeated tries, she sent me to the counseling office to find a different class to take. From that moment on, I felt I shouldn’t sing at all, that my voice shouldn’t be heard in song. 
I carried that thought with me for more than a decade until I read Psalm 98 as a young adult. The writer opens with an invitation to “sing to the Lord” (Psalm 98:1). The reason offered has nothing to do with the quality of our voices; He delights in all His children’s songs of thanksgiving and praise. Instead, we are invited to sing because God “has done marvelous things” (v. 1). 

There may be some among my fellow readers here who’ve been gifted/talented with great singing voices. Most of us have not. However, in today’s highlight and reference passages, God’s authors and psalmists charge US ALL to sing our praises to a God Who has done wondrous things and has blessed all of His children … even if it’s with the challenges of life which draw us closer to our God. 

So, join me this morning with whatever voice we’ve been given; and if nothing else, take a moment to listen and sing along with today’s linked song.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for giving us a voice to lift to You in praise.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … As I join to worship You with my brothers and sisters in Christ on this Sabbath day, let us sing our praises to You in song … with united and joy-filled hearts. … 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, April 14, 2018

April 14, 2018 … Hope In the Storm

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 104 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of live worship with lyrics of the group, Hillsong, performing live … Anchor … poignantly singing of how our faith in Christ is our anchor of hope in the storms of life.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Mark 4:39 [NLT] … 39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 
… Jesus calming the storm showed His Disciples that they need not fear the storms of life; because He is in complete control.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Mark 4:35-41 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… Jesus shows His disciples that faith in Him is their anchor in the storms of life.
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Reference Passage : … Romans 8:29 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … 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. 
… Yes, … even the worst storms of life.

Reference Passage : … Hebrews 13:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s covenant promises that He will never forsake us and that we need not fear the storms of life. My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Adam Holz, used a personal story to illustrate how our anchor of faith can give us peace in even the worst storms of life. … The ODB author wrote: Wind howled, lightning flashed, waves crashed. I thought I was going to die. My grandparents and I were fishing on a lake, but we’d stayed out too long. As the sun set, a fast-moving squall swept over our small boat. My grandfather instructed me to sit in front to keep it from capsizing. Terror flooded my heart. But then, somehow, I began to pray. I was fourteen. 
I asked God for His reassurance and protection. The storm didn’t weaken, but we made it to shore. To this day, I don’t know if I’ve experienced a deeper certainty of God’s presence than that night in the storm. 

Ever been in a REALLY bad storm? Oh, it may have just been some emotional storm or circumstantial upheaval rather than a storm out on the waters as with the ODB story or the highlight passage relating how Jesus calmed the waters and showed His disciples that they need not fear anything in His presence.

But, ... do we really believe God’s promises that He’ll never leave us, nor forsake us [Heb:13:5-6]; … or, that ALL THINGS work together for our good [Rom. 8:29]; … yes, even the worst storms of life? Because if we do have faith in Him, there is NO NEED to fear the storms, is there? Because our faith in the promises and Person of Christ are all we need to find peace.

He’s ALWAYS in control of the wind and waves in our storms.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for giving me my anchor of faith and being the Rock to Whom my anchor holds.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Be with me in this storm, 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, April 13, 2018

April 13, 2018 … All For One …

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 103 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics of the group Casting Crowns singing … If We Are The Body … poignantly singing of how we Christians need to be the Body of Christ reaching out in unity to serve our Lord.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1 Corinthians 14:26 [NLT] … 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. 
… When one in Christ’s Body suffers, we all suffer; … when one is honored, we all celebrate. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1 Corinthians 12:14-26 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, teaches on “the Body of Christ” and it’s unity to serve our Lord with all of its parts.
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Reference Passage : … Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:12-13 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Again, Paul teaches Christians about the unity of Christ’s Body, … the Church.

Reference Passage : … Colossians 1:18, 2:19 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… And even more, Paul shows how Christ created all parts of his Body to work TOGETHER for His glory.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Linda Washington, used a personal story to teaching how one one part of the body can effect pain in the entire body when one has a kidney stone. … The ODB author wrote: When a coworker called in sick due to extreme pain, everyone at the office was concerned. After a trip to the hospital and a day of bed rest, he returned to work and showed us the source of that pain—a kidney stone. He’d asked his doctor to give him the stone as a souvenir. Looking at that stone, I winced in sympathy, remembering the gallstone I had passed years ago. The pain had been excruciating. Isn’t it interesting that something so small can cause a whole body so much agony?

Fellow Christian, … are you in a small group, perhaps a church discipleship group, a Sunday-School class, or a mission team? If one of these, our fellow Christians in the Body of Christ, were to be diagnosed with cancer or be in a serious accident, … how would we feel? I’d sure hope we’d ache in either sympathetic or empathetic agony.

But DO WE?!

And the opposite case scenario should also be true. When one of our Christian body members is honored or experiences victory, we should all feel in a mood to celebrate.

But DO WE?!

I’m afraid all too often that “All for ONE and ONE for all” attitude which Paul taught in the passages above is missing in the Body of Christ. Too often, in many Christian group settings or endeavors, we see “Lone Ranger” Christians feeling like they need to stand out for their individual achievement or even for their individual pain.

Brother or Sister in Christ’s Body, please take the time to hear Casting Crown singing about the Body of Christ in today’s linked song; and then, … let’s pray today - TOGETHER - that all of us, who love the Lord and serve Him in the Body of Christ, declare that we are ALL FOR ONE today …and all days … for His glory.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for bringing me into Your Body to serve You.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I pray, Lord, that I will be able to join with others in Your Body to serve You and glorify Your Name today. … Amen

PS: A personal note: … On this date 35 year ago, God’s Spirt broke me to a place where I could be birthed into the Body of Christ. So, may I loudly declare today a very personal … HALLELUJAH!!!” 

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, April 12, 2018

April 12, 2018 … Living Out Of God’s Love

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 102 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics of Tim McGraw singing … Humble and Kind … poignantly singing of we Christians should ALWAYS live … expressing the love of God.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1 Thessalonians 1:3 [NLT] … 3 As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
… Examples of how God’s love is lived out in the lives of genuine Christians.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… God shows how the Thessalonians were examples of living in and living out God’s love. 
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Reference Passage : … Mark 12:28-31 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus declares God’s “Law of Love” to the Jewish Leaders, expressing how a true believer must love God first and others second to live out God’s love in his/her life.

Reference Passage : … 1st Corinthians 13:13 [NLT] … 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. 
… Of all the qualities of Christlikeness others should see in the lives of Christ, LOVE should shine the brightest.

Reference Passage : … Galatians 6:9-10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Humbly doing good for others, is simply expressing God’s love thru our deeds to help others.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Lisa Samra, used a personal story of a family member who exemplified the living out of God’s love by loving someone else enough to serve that family member humbly for as long as needed. … The ODB author wrote: For ten years, my Aunt Kathy cared for her father (my grandfather) in her home. She cooked and cleaned for him when he was independent, and then took on the role of nurse when his health declined. …  
My aunt served in faith and love. Her daily, consistent care was the result of her belief that God called her to this important work. Her labor was borne out of love for God and her father. 
She also endured in hope. My grandfather was a very kind man, but it was difficult to watch him decline. She gave up time with family and friends, and limited travel to care for him. She was able to endure because of the hope that God would strengthen her each day, along with the hope of heaven that awaited my grandfather. 

Jesus clearly declared that it was God’s “law of love” for His disciples to love God so much that serving others becomes the expression of that love in our lives [see Mark 12:28-31]; and the OBD story above exemplifies that kind of life.

Please take the time to hear Tim McGraw’s lilting song about how we should live our lives … being humble and kind. And then meditate on the truth expressed in God’s word above about living as disciples of Christ; … and then let’s all do a life inventory and see if there’s somewhere, or with someone, we can live out God’s law of love in our lives as the ODB author’s aunt lived to care for her beloved earthly father.

BUT TODAY, … as Tim McGraw sings, … let’s all be “Humble and Kind!”

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for Your infinite love which empowers me, thru Your grace, to love others more than myself.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I pray that I can express or share Your love with someone in my life 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.