Archive for the ‘Christian’ Category
My eyelids fluttered in the bright light. Then I saw Earl leaning over me.
I tried to speak, but couldn’t.
Earl explained, “You’re in ICU at Western Baptist Hospital. You had a wreck. Your neck is broken and you’re paralyzed. You have a trach and you’re on a ventilator. You and Kari were…”
“Kari?” I mouthed in panic.
“She’s fine. She had several cuts on her head and a mild concussion. Your sister, Bobbi, is here taking care of her. It was New Year’s Day. Do you remember your dream?”
“Yes.” I had dreamed that my cousin, Bob Wiley, was going to be in an accident on New Year’s Day on Highway 80. Earl told him about my dream and asked him to stay off 80 that day.
“Bob didn’t stay off Highway 80. Instead, he assisted the paramedics getting you out of the car after the accident.”
Was my dream wrong? No. Bob’s name was Robert Wiley. My maiden name was Roberta Wiley. And we were both there.
“How long?” Earl read my lips.
“Seven weeks,” he replied as he lifted a limp hand in his and I saw fingers that couldn’t possibly be mine.
“Berta, you wouldn’t believe how many people are praying for you. Even the truck driver calls to check on you.”
I returned home weak and exhausted five months after the accident. I couldn’t move anything but my arms. Not my hands or my fingers. I couldn’t feel anything below my collarbones.
Depressed, I just wanted to be left alone. I withdrew from life.
Though my body could do little, God wasn’t finished molding my earthen vessel. I sat through many Bible studies, sermons and workshops without paying attention – I thought.
Over the years, God provided me with multiple opportunities to serve Him. Hearing His word – no matter my intent – and continued study prepared me to live and breathe as Jesus taught His disciples.
I am still physically paralyzed, but I am not an invalid. I am a spiritually alive child of God through the blood of Jesus.
“(Y)ou, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8 NIV).
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mathew 28:19 NIV).
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Photo Courtesy of Flickr
|Photo Courtesy of Flickr|
My surgeon looked me in the eye and said, “The infection is in the bone.” He followed with talk about blood test results and “inflammatory markers”.
His words confirmed my fear. The first round of IV antibiotics, though nearly killing me, had only moderately destroyed the bacteria eating away my body.
With mild hesitancy, he spoke of more IV antibiotics. I said, “When can we get started?” Before leaving the clinic, we had surgery scheduled to insert a central IV in my chest the next morning.
It wasn’t until evening that I recognized the choice my doctor had given me. I could have chosen not to treat this infection and my physical body would die. Or, I could choose treatment with newly formulated IV antibiotics that could be very difficult on my body.
This death would usher my spirit into heaven where there would be no more tears. No more pain. My broken earthly body would walk again, and I could dance with Jesus all day long.
To choose death by refusing treatment would relieve me of many responsibilities. My death would also neutralize God’s plan for my life the moment I chose it.
God reminded me of my promise to Him: to tell every person I meet about Jesus. To tell them of His love, grace, mercy and forgiveness for all. From the least to the greatest on earth, all are invited
Next, God reminded me of my blog, Snapshots: Devotions from Life. With a readership around the world and here in the United States, my devotions carry the Word of God boldly to people I will only meet in heaven.
By evening on the second day, I knew God’s plan for my future would not be easy. Overwhelmed by my faithful decision to live for Christ my emotions took over and tears of great sadness and joy streamed from my eyes.
Earl and I covet your prayers. Please pray strength, peace and rest for our bodies, minds, souls and spirits. Pray death to the infection. Pray we have the Joy of the Lord every day.
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me” (Philippians 1:20-26 NIV).
Friends, please remember to share this devotion? People are being touched around the world for God.
One morning as I read my Sunday school lesson, it referred to Joni Eareckson Tada calling her accident and subsequent spinal cord injury “A Glorious Intruder.”
I thought, “What would I call my accident and subsequent injury?
After a few moments of thought, I knew. “My Magnificent Messenger.” The message it brought was a reminder of an unaccepted promise of God.
God would forgive my sins and use me for His glory if I’d only let Him. I confessed sins of my past I’d been too embarrassed to speak about and God began using me to plant seeds of faith in strangers and to encourage faith in believers.
I began this month in tears over unrelenting pain from an infection in a pressure wound. Earl has often taken my hand and encouraged me to pray.
Father God, I ask for strength for us this day. I pray healing from pain and infection, and that we will lean on you as we have in days past. Lord, give us your peace that passes all understanding to sustain us in these days. In Jesus Name, Amen.
For Earl and me, this month has continued as it began, with physical pain and emotional trials.
What would I call my injury today? “A Most Magnificent Messenger!”
In our Father’s mercy, Earl and I’ve had a month to pray together in each other’s daily strengths and weaknesses. Answered daily prayers for God’s strength and peace, and our love for each other have held us firm in our faith.
We’ve had many opportunities to share our faith with friends and strangers. We’ve been blessed through frequent Facebook posts of love, encouragement and prayers. Friends have sent me cards and emails filled with these same sentiments.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7 NIV).
Friends, Remember to share with your friends. People are being blessed around the world for God. I am so thankful to be a broken vessel in the hands of a loving God.
After I made a profession of faith and the pastor baptized me I thought, “Shouldn’t I feel saved?” I wondered what I did wrong.
Caught in a storm of faith, I believed I was unforgivable. I avoided Christians, Sunday school, and Bible study—fearing condemnation. When I opened my heart to God’s love and forgiveness, many wounds healed and sinful habits fell away.
Are you caught in a storm of faith?
Through the Easter season, we read about many instances of failed faith by those who knew Jesus best. Peter denied him and the cock crowed. (Luke 22:60) The disciples hid behind locked doors in fear. (John 20:19) Thomas insisted on touching Jesus wounds to believe. (John 20:25)
Are we of stronger faith than the disciples? Is our storm any different? Not mine. Like the disciples, I lived in the flesh for many years. The devil knows our weaknesses and failures as he knew the disciples. Our separation from God pleases the evil one.
After reading a children’s book about Elijah and Elisha, I prayed for faith like theirs. Then one day, in the midst of my storm, Jesus showed up, cleaned me up and filled me up! Yet I still fall short of God’s desire in my faith daily and must feed on his word continuously.
“Strengthen your commitment to Christ—now. Don’t wait until the storms of temptation, or sickness, or old age threaten to blow you off-course; now is the time to strengthen your faith.” ― Billy Graham, The Heaven Answer Book.
“When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?’ ‘Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,’ Elisha replied (2 Kings 2:9 NIV).
If this devotion blessed you, please share it with your friends.
I’ve been mulling around this idea as we follow Jesus to the cross:
How well do we represent the Jesus of Good Friday to the world? How do we show the love of the Father to the skeptic, the atheist, the young mother who sees images she doesn’t want her child to see?
· Jesus was beaten, scourged, slapped, spit on and his beard was pulled out.
· Jesus was crowned with thorns, cloaked in purple and called “The King of the Jews”.
· Jesus was nailed to a tree, yet refused medicinal wine.
· Jesus forgave his murderers and welcomed a thief into paradise.
· Jesus was mocked, “If you are the Messiah save yourself.”
· Jesus took the sins of the world upon him and felt separation from his Father.
· Jesus committed his spirit to God, died and was buried in a borrowed tomb.
Is that enough to frighten and turn people away? Yes, I agree. But how can we portray that day of Jesus suffering and sacrifice as a witness to what he provides?
· Jesus took all our sins and transgressions, and the punishment for them, upon his body.
· Jesus shed blood offers forgiveness to the children of God into eternity.
· Jesus death allows us to live righteous and holy before God and man.
· Jesus life tells us to represent the gospel of Jesus Christ always and everywhere.
· Jesus tells us to love God and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Jesus’ death – and resurrection – cleanses our spirit, renews our strength, and satisfies our soul.
“The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.” (Romans 6:10 NIV).
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