A Little Girl Lost

Archive for the ‘equipped’ Category

Make a Difference

In rehab, my occupational therapist told me only two muscle groups in my arms worked. I could bend my elbow but not straighten it. I could lift my arm but then it fell limp.
We focused on strengthening those muscle groups and as I grew stronger, my therapist encouraged me to try new skills. Since I was right handed, we worked on details, or fine motor skills. Using splints that held the needed instruments I learned to feed myself, brush my own teeth, write and type on a keyboard.
My left arm took longer and developed a different set of skills as I learned to push, lift and carry items I needed throughout the day. In God’s providence, my muscles adapted to my “different abilities.” Next, I had to adapt my new life.
Bible study, sermons, talking with other Christians all taught me about God. The more I learned the more I understood God’s desire for me—His plan for my life. He called me to make a difference for Him.
I began by answering the questions of people who were curious about my situation. In talking, I often felt the fear I had of what people thought of me. I was not a good person before I accepted Jesus as my savior. He loved me anyway. I talked on and soon I was telling people what God had done for me—not just in my past, but that day and every day.

I have overcome my disabilities through Jesus’ victory over the cross.

You may feel weak, worn, and weary but He can re-route your abilities. He may seem distant but He’s right there working with you. He will provide all you need to fulfill His desire in your life. Will you work with Him to strengthen your faith—or someone else’s?
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13 NIV).
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV).
In Christian Love.
Berta
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Because Of a Wheelchair

It took years for me to adjust to my new life. Paralyzed from my shoulders down with minimal use of my arms, I sat in a large black power wheelchair and stood out in a crowd.  People stared and I often overheard them talking about me. “What’s she doing here?” “What does she want?” “She can’t sit there.”  Many said they were sorry I had to be in a wheelchair while still others yelled at me as if I couldn’t hear. Most people just walked around me. In my pain, I withdrew and hid behind veiled eyes.

Until one day, someone asked me to teach a Sunday school class. I didn’t want to do it, but God wouldn’t let me go. I accepted knowing He would be my strength. That single invitation gave me the courage to step out of my uncomfortable-comfort zone and speak up about the healing love of God’s presence in my life. My disability opened many doors for ministry; the wheelchair however, couldn’t go through all of them.

Buildings with narrow doorways, steps or other barriers set physical limits to my ministry while much of society continued to shun me. As I took a stand for Christ’s sacrifice “for the least of these” word of my ministry spread and I found I could be both a minister of the gospel and an advocate for persons with disabilities.

I prayed for healing from past hurts and God gave me an incredible ministry. God’s call may not be a “dream come true” but if you’ll accept it, He will bless you through it.

Father, it is my prayer that you would work through me, and use my disability to open doors and share your word everywhere I go.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are (disabled), but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV).

In Christian Love,

Berta
 

God’s Timing

Do you ever feel like God has forgotten you? Or forgotten a promise He made to you? I have. A few months before my injury I attended a spiritual gifts workshop. We filled out surveys then broke into small groups. My group determined my gift was “healing,” a repeated theme in my spiritual walk that I had ignored because everyone knew I was a nurse. That day I believed it and it scared me.

I talked to a friend who listened and prayed with me. When he got up to leave he said, “You have to be healed before you can heal.”

I didn’t understand. I wasn’t sick.

After my injury, I believed God would heal me instantly—so I could begin my healing ministry.
God’s timing is not our timing. It requires us to persevere in our trusting God. This may mean years of patience and longsuffering. What gives us strength to wait upon the Lord? We must focus on His promises and the fulfillment of them. We must be careful not to go before Him as Abraham and Sarah did (Genesis 16 NIV).
God will do His part but we are responsible to do ours. We must move in great faith, being ready to answer His call. Remember that acting in faith builds faith. God starts us with small things, and if He finds us trustworthy, He will give us authority over many things (Matthew 25:23).
There will be battles. Satan will try to steal our destinies. Trials and travail bring us to new levels in our walk with Christ. We must recognize our need for help, humble ourselves and ask for prayer, counsel, and encouragement.
Stand together with your brothers and sisters in Christ knowing He is with you carrying you when needed. He promises that He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
His timing may surprise you today.
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings (1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV).
In Christian Love,
Berta
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In The Wilderness

As I sat in my living room one afternoon, I could hear thunder roll nearby and see fat rain drops fall in bursts on my deck. It reminded me of early spring days living in the raw bottoms of central Illinois when I was sixteen. At that time, my family had spent several months living in a school bus, fishing and carrying water from McGee Creek and cooking fresh-killed game over open fires. With no end in sight, we tired of our meager diet and daily drudgery.
I asked my father, “Why do we have to live this way?” Our only agenda was day-to-day necessities. We just kept putting one foot in front of the other.
Is this how life was for the Israelites in their years in the wilderness? From the beginning, they questioned and accused both God and Moses.
“As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Deuteronomy 14:10-12 NIV). “There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!’”  (Numbers 21:5 NIV).
They couldn’t see past each moment, each day, or night. Their focus had been back in Egypt where they had memories of plenty to eat and drink.
My experience caused me to be angry with my father for many years, and my anger strangled my personal growth. I only recently understood the blessings God gave to me in the bottoms. He strengthened me in physical ability and endurance. I learned to observe, discern and adapt in order to survive. I became a vital member of a team—my family. Knowing that other members relied on me for what I could provide gave me a sense of belonging.
When I accepted Jesus as my Lord, He increased my spiritual strength through church attendance, Bible study, Sunday school, missions, and women’s ministry. I became a member of His team, called to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ alongside you.
“Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land” (Deuteronomy 8:6-7 NIV).
In Christian Love,
Berta
P.S. Would you please pray for the Flowers family as they move through the adoption process to bring their son home from El Salvador. www.facebook.com/Bringing.Carlos.home

His Intent

 
 
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him Job 13:15 KJV
 
Two weeks on bedrest after I had surgery to close a small pressure sore had passed slowly, and I expected good news from my surgeon.
 
On arrival in the clinic, a nurse looked at, measured and took a picture of the incision. “Well there are six sutures, but it looks like it doesn’t want to stick together.” My heart sank for a few minutes. Then, while talking to God, I knew I’d make it through whatever the doctor deemed necessary.
 
When he came in and looked at the incision, he agreed with the nurse. His solution: add four sutures. Before he spoke again I said, “Doc, do you think it would help if I stay in bed longer?” He said, “It would probably help.”
 
So back on bed rest for two more weeks, I read my devotion from “Joni and Friends.” It began:
 
“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realm.” Ephesians 3:10
 
The powers and principalities, all the heavenly hosts and the dark rulers of the universe, millions of unseen beings are intensely interested to see just how “able” God is to sustain the weak and the weary.
 
Ephesians 3:10 tells us that God teaches the unseen world all about Himself, and He does it using you and me as His audio-visual aids. We are used of the Lord to show the universe how great, awesome, and wonderful God and His grace are.*
 
There’s more but you can see the power of God that changed my outlook yesterday. Reading this note from Joni opened my eyes again to God’s unchanging faithfulness.
 
Are you where God can use you to teach the unseen (and seen) world about His love, power, and grace?
 
In Christian Love,
Berta
 
*Taken from More Precious Than Silver. Copyright © 1998 by Joni Eareckson Tada. www.joniandfriends.org
 

What Are Your Spiritual Gifts?

Our music minister and his wife (Dale and Esther Julian) performed the special music one Sunday morning. Their strength and ability carried me into a time of beautiful worship of our Lord and Savior. After the service, I told Esther how their music ministered to me and she told me she gets nervous. I said, “It was awesome. I couldn’t do it.” Esther replied, “Well I couldn’t do what you do.”

That conversation made me think about God’s gifts and callings in the lives of all His children. Remembering Esther’s nervousness brought this cliché to my mind: “out of my comfort zone.” We all struggle with doing things God’s way. We often look at situations with human eyes and minds and consider what might seem to be the easier way.

Both Dale and Esther attended college to prepare for their ministry. They didn’t just learn how to sing and play musical instruments but how to polish the gift and call God had placed in their spirits. Nursing school didn’t call me to be a nurse. God had given me the gift and call and school was my opportunity to become what God had planned for my life. When I began writing, Earl gave me a computer. It was a tool that I used to hone my skills in that gift and call from God.

 
What is(are) your gift(s) and calling(s)? How are you preparing to fulfill yours?

“Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed…There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines” (1 Cor 12:1, 4-11 NIV). 

In Christian Love,

Berta

For your personal spiritual gift inventory go to http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.8051415/

 

Useful

Jesus called me to tell what He was doing in my spirit. He said, “Invest in Me. My word is truth. My yoke is light.” How can I express His greatness and power? The fire that burns in my belly?

God’s call often sounds foolish to us. Noah built an ark before it had ever rained a drop. Moses told Pharaoh, “Let my people go!” Peter stepped out of one boat and walked on water, then cast his net in the deep water from another boat.

I came from sin. A sinner born from sinners to sin. Physically and emotionally alone, I felt separated by the cruelty of a world I couldn’t understand. Constant unbearable pain weighed heavy on my soul from childhood.

As I grew older, I knew God was out there. I’d tried to talk to Him but He’d never answered my selfish pleas. The day came that crushed by my sin, guilt, and self-loathing, I turned to Jesus and cried for mercy and forgiveness. I poured out my sin and soaked in His Holy Spirit. I walked away from who I’d been; I couldn’t keep doing the same things.

He began to use my life, which I once thought was useless—my voice, my joy and laughter, my pain and weakness—to speak to those who needed to hear about Him. He wants each of us to participate with Him in bringing others into the Kingdom, and he wants us to experience His presence in our lives.

“God doesn’t give us what we deserve, because if He did, we’d be burnt to a crisp in a nano-second. Because receiving justice would be hell; mercy is salvation; and grace is peace, and joy, and so much more.” Joni Eareckson Tada

“I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.” (Philemon 1:10-11 NIV.)

Lord Jesus, I thank you for bearing all my sins and setting me free from the law of sin and death. Give me boldness to share Your mercy and forgiveness at every
opportunity You provide. Amen

In Christian Love,
Berta
 

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