A Little Girl Lost

Archive for the ‘forgiveness’ Category

A Most Magnificent Messenger

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).
In Christ.
Berta
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.
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Besetting Sins

After my baptism at age 28, I didn’t feel “saved.” Did I not get it? Am I still the same? What did I do wrong?

Over time, I couldn’t break free from many of my sins. Each time I sinned, I confessed then I sinned again. I couldn’t stop the cycle. I didn’t understand why and I felt trapped.

I hated myself and my life. I suffered from debilitating loneliness as I pulled away from people who loved me.  I lost hope of ever experiencing victory.

Through a Christian ministry, I was encouraged to read TheBondage Breaker by Neil Anderson. Suddenly aware of the spiritual realm, I learned about spiritual footholds and attacks of condemnation.

Even though I’d made a profession of faith, Satan had access to my spirit. Sins of my past that I still felt guilt over had allowed footholds. He wanted me to suffer and believe God couldn’t or wouldn’t forgive me.

Jesus shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins, and prayer in His name breaks the bonds Satan has on us. Therefore, we must turn to Jesus and resist Satan to experience freedom in Christ.

I was right to confess my sin, but I had failed to follow through. Binding Satan through the power of Jesus blood will set you free.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 NIV).

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1, 2 NIV).

Pray this prayer, or your own, out loud to protect you and your family from bondage:

Father, I praise You and thank You for the forgiveness of sin Jesus blood supplies, and I bind Satan with that power and in Jesus name. Satan, I bind you and cast you out of my life and the lives of my (family/children). (I’m/we/they are) covered by the blood and you have no authority in (my) life. In Jesus name, Amen

In Christ,

Berta

If this devotion blessed you, would you consider sharing it with your friends? Thanks, Berta

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You Are Worthy

One thing holding you captive right now is your belief that you are not worthy of God’s forgiveness and therefore your inability to forgive yourself.


I felt guilty and unlovable when I met Jesus. That guilt held me back. When Christian friends shared their stories of sin and redemption with me the Holy Spirit began to minister to my brokenness. He set my feet on the path to righteousness.

My struggle continued though—with a fear of man. What would my Sunday school class think if they knew about my past? Can I tell the truth and still be a part of the church?

The truth is that what man thinks is of no consequence to my life—or yours. The only fear we are to harbor is for God. To do what is right before Him. To love and have faith that He will carry us through the trials and tribulations of this life. His Son died that we may live and live life to the fullest.

What is holding you back? A piercing? A tattoo? A withered arm? Are you a single parent? Divorced?

Whatever it is, it isn’t too big for God. Nothing is. Your guilt and fear can be lifted.

Don’t fear God’s judgement for your sin. Confess and accept God’s forgiveness.

O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing
Charles Wesley

“He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoner free:
His blood can make the foulest clean:
His blood availed for me.”

“He speaks – and listening to his voice,
New life the dead receive;
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice;
The humble poor believe.”

“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” (Romans 4:7, 8 NIV).

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you” (Acts 13:38 NIV).

In Christian Love,
Berta

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Loss, Loneliness and Leaving

My family in the Bottoms 1974

 I grew up in Meredosia, Illinois: Dosh—a small town of less than one thousand people. Dad sent Mom away when I was eleven. He was abusive and all my sisters and I had were each other. Our house burned to the ground that Christmas. A new house trailer replaced it, but we were on survival mode only. When our stepmother, Mary, and her four kids joined our family, we were isolated from the world we knew.

 
We moved to Arenzville—first into a trailer then an old farmhouse, then back to Dosh to the old Standard Oil gas station. Mary forced us to make and wear floor-length dresses and skirts every day. We didn’t play anymore. Then we moved to “the bottoms,” across the river in Brown County, where we lived in a converted school bus. I didn’t continue in school, opting to work the land.

Winters were the hardest. No matter where I lived after Mom left, I was cold—I still can’t stand to be cold. I left the bottoms at seventeen and never went back there or to Dosh.

Through the advent of Facebook, I’ve reconnected with a few people in or from Dosh. When we talk, I feel a deep loss. I don’t remember things they say I did or we did together, and I missed that “coming-of-age” time with prom and other school activities. It seems my sisters and I weren’t the only kids who suffered some type of abuse growing up there. As we share we are helping each other to heal.

Today Angela said, “Seriously, all of us know life can just suck, at times. But there is something in each of us that can overcome those times. I think Berta got an extra dose of the overcoming stuff… so… Super Powers is my answer.”

After lamenting about my despair and death wish, I realized I do have Super Power. I wrote:

“I didn’t know God knew me in the days I thought I was living in hell. Even after I made a profession of faith, I felt guilty. How could He love me? Didn’t He know how bad I was? Yes He did. It was my problem with self-deprecating guilt. When I quit hating myself and accepted His love and forgiveness, I forgave myself for doing what I’d done to myself, and others. God is my Super Power.”

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:5 NIV).

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14 NIV).

In Christian Love,

Berta

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Planting Seeds

Looking back over my life, I see God’s hand in every day, even before I knew Him.

Though I had made a profession of faith in my twenty’s, I was far from Christ. I felt I was drowning in a sea of personal sin I didn’t dare share with my Christian friends.
Fear of their judgement scared me in to my own private hell.

Then I went to a retreat where I heard Christians talk about their sins and God’s forgiving heart. My shell shattered and I cried out to Him and found freedom in the love and forgiveness He held for me. I made a promise then, “I’m going to tell everyone I meet about Jesus.” And I did. Friends turned away and “perceived enemies” became brothers and sisters.

Eight months later an accident severed my spinal cord. I came home weak and weary six months and nine days after my injury. My power wheelchair had one true asset then—it reclined. I withdrew from life, laid back and hid behind veiled eyes. I refused to face my future.

The cost was high in body, mind and spirit, but God’s blessings are phenomenal. In His infinite wisdom, He prepared the way. Earl had served as a hospital chaplain on a reconstructive surgery floor where many of the patients had a spinal cord injury. In rehab, the staff taught us how to take care of me at home. According to them, I would live to within five years of my natural lifespan if I had something to look forward to and got out of the house routinely.

Earl took me on nearly every pastoral visit and preachers meeting he went to, but I just leaned back in my wheelchair with my eyes closed. He encouraged me to keep a journal and try teaching Sunday school. He loved me even when I failed.

As I filled those roles with study and preparation, I learned more than I taught. I read the story about how David sinned but was a man after God’s heart.* Job lost everything yet said, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him.”** I began sharing my story of God’s faithfulness again and grew stronger in my faith each time. I wrote my brief story and passed it out as a tract to everyone who spoke to me.

While in a small group studying Steve Harper’s Devotional Life in the Wesleyan Tradition many years later, a friend pointed out my seemingly fearless sharing of my faith. I made light of it, “I just tell what God has done for me, but I’ve never led anyone to accept Christ.”

She said, “You may not have, but you have planted many seeds. You may never know until you get to heaven how many people are there because of your testimony.”

Those words have encouraged me to be bold as I tell my stories of His faithfulness to friends and strangers. Old and young. Churched and un-churched. In stores, in doctors offices or on the telephone with sales associates. Earl says, “Imagine that, Berta’s talking.”

Jesus tells us to make disciples. You too can plant and water to prepare hearts for God’s harvest. Trust Him and tell what He has done for you.

Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6 NRSV).

In Christian Love,

Berta

*Acts 13:22 KJV
**Job 13:15 KJV

Blessed Are the Forgiven

After Earl and I married and moved to our first church as pastor and family, my non-Christian attitude didn’t change. I cursed and complained about the Christian music he played in the car. I continued habits that reflected poorly on his ministry. I refused to attend any service other than Sunday morning worship.

I watched Christians and couldn’t believe what they believed. Some showed me aspects of faith that downright scared me. After suffering years of abuse by men and my sinful lifestyle, I had an impenetrable wall of self-protection. When I felt weak I withdrew believing no one could love the real me, especially God.

Four years and four months passed in tension and turmoil for my family. Then I went on a Walk to Emmaus where the Holy Spirit ministered to my brokenness. I learned I wasn’t alone as new friends shared their stories of sin and redemption. I learned I didn’t have to bear my burden alone. Jesus died on my behalf long before my sins occurred.

When I accepted God’s forgiveness for my sin, He changed my life in an instant. Bible study became my favorite pastime. Reading the stories about my Savior and my brothers and sisters in Christ 2,000 years before, helped me understand God’s love, mercy, grace and forgiveness.

We are blessed beyond measure through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ.

I am pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned

Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure
His joy’s gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning,*

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” (Acts 13:38 NIV).

“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” (Rom 4:7, 8 NIV).

In Christian Love,

Berta

*Lyrics: Trading My Sorrows by Delirious

Blessed Are the Forgiven

After Earl and I married and moved to our first church as pastor and family, my non-Christian attitude didn’t change. I cursed and complained about the Christian music he played in the car. I continued habits that reflected poorly on his ministry. I refused to attend any service other than Sunday morning worship.

I watched Christians and couldn’t believe what they believed. Some showed me aspects of faith that downright scared me. After suffering years of abuse by men and my sinful lifestyle, I had an impenetrable wall of self-protection. When I felt weak I withdrew believing no one could love the real me, especially God.

Four years and four months passed in tension and turmoil for my family. Then I went on a Walk to Emmaus where the Holy Spirit ministered to my brokenness. I learned I wasn’t alone as new friends shared their stories of sin and redemption. I learned I didn’t have to bear my burden alone. Jesus died on my behalf long before my sins occurred.

When I accepted God’s forgiveness for my sin, He changed my life in an instant. Bible study became my favorite pastime. Reading the stories about my Savior and my brothers and sisters in Christ 2,000 years before, helped me understand God’s love, mercy, grace and forgiveness.

We are blessed beyond measure through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ.

I am pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned

Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure
His joy’s gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning,*

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” (Acts 13:38 NIV).

“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” (Rom 4:7, 8 NIV).

In Christian Love,

Berta

*Lyrics: Trading My Sorrows by Delirious
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