A Little Girl Lost

Archive for the ‘God’s Faithfulness’ Category

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
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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
 

Heaven’s Loss

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 KJV).

Here we are at Advent again. We’re waiting and preparing for the birth of God’s Son, the Christ Child. He gave up glory on His majestic throne to come to earth, fully man yet fully God. He was acknowledged as the Christ while still in a virgin’s womb.

Born in a stable. Laid in a manger. Serenaded by angels. Gifted by kings.

This wasn’t the beginning for In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1 KJV).

Earl and I have a print by Ron DiCianni called “Heaven’s Loss.” Focusing on the Christ Child lying in a manger, an archangel leans over Him as to have one last look.

His humanity was for our sake. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10 KJV).

I am overwhelmed by Gods’ goodness. Though I deserve nothing I have everything. In His mercy and grace and by His life, death, and resurrection I have eternal life without fear or guilt or shame.

My prayer is that you too know Him and His love.

In Christian Love,
Berta

He Loves Me

Before I met Jesus, I met Earl and I wasn’t happy to find out he was a Christian and a chaplain. As our relationship grew, some of my old ways fell away by thoughts of pleasing him. He never pushed religion; he just loved me. When he proposed, I would’ve married him that day. I made a profession of faith and was baptized before we married—because I thought a preacher’s wife should be baptized—but I brought a truckload of baggage into our marriage.

More than four difficult years later, I talked to Jesus about my sinful past. He healed my broken heart and I accepted His forgiveness. My life changed—for a few months. I prayed again and again for deliverance from sins and guilt I’d held on to. Then one day Earl said, “Berta, you’re in ICU. You had a wreck, and you’re paralyzed from your neck down.”

Though unable to do anything for myself, I continued to desire those now unattainable sins. As my body healed and my strength increased, I began to study and even teach God’s word. I learned many things:

  • He didn’t cause my injury
  • He didn’t rejoice in my injury
  • He allowed my injury
  • He sent His Son to redeem me
  • He had a plan for my life
  • He disciplines those He loves
  • He loves me!

I pray for God’s strength and leading every day as He uses my physical disability to bring me through to the spiritual life he desires for me.

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word…It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” (Psalm 119:67, 71).


In Christian Love,
Berta

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Bear One Another’s Burdens…

When Earl married me, he adopted our daughter, Kari; and his father adopted me. We are family. This is a prime example of God’s family: If you belong to Jesus, and I belong to Jesus, you are my brother or sister. And family, I need you to pray.
 
 
I know you already pray for Earl and me, but I’m asking you today to pray specifically for our health. Most of you are aware of my pressure sore and the long battle we’ve been fighting to get it healed. During this battle, I have become physically weak, spiritually dry, and emotionally lonely.
 
I miss being with my small groups (United Methodist Women, Crosstalk Sunday school class, W.I.S.E. –Women’s Inspirational Study Experience—etc.) in fellowship and in ministry. Ministry that I believe God called me to. Likewise, this situation is affecting Earl.
 
I need healing prayer for my mind, body, soul and spirit. I’ve gone through deep valleys of depression, anger, and self-pity and I don’t want to go back there again. Sing God’s praise and pray for His strength to carry Earl and me through this trial that we may able to minister in His name.
 
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 ESV).
 
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19 NIV).
 
Will you pray with me now? Father, we thank you for the gifts of family, fellowship, and Christian community where we can reach out in troubled times. Help us to live in Your love and grace; gifts we cannot earn because You give them freely. Thank You for the Blood that washes us white as snow and the salvation it represents. Send Your Holy Spirit to heal Your people. In Jesus name, Amen
 
In Christian Love,
Berta

My Hiding Place

I talk about my injury with people everywhere I go, and I hear this often: “You’re easy to talk to, but I don’t know what to say to most people in wheelchairs. They seem angry. How do you do so well?”

Honestly, I only do well sometimes. I have to face my enemies every day. I had just accepted the unconditional love and forgiveness Jesus offers eight months before I drove through an intersection and under a logging truck.

After coming home from rehabilitation at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA, I felt worthless. I refused help from everyone but my family. I sat day after day, and year after year, with my eyes closed. Sometimes I was asleep, but mostly I was hiding. I was ashamed of being an invalid and prayed God would take me home. I can’t describe the depth of my pain, guilt, depression, and frustration of facing life as a quadriplegic.

I can tell you, “God is good!” He uses people like you every day of my life to bless and minister to me. A Sunday school teacher invited me to teach once a month. The church secretary asked me to write for the newsletter. Friends asked questions and I began telling what God was doing in my life.

Do I believe Gods will for me is healing? Yes. Does that mean complete healing of my earthly body? I know I’ll have a glorified body in heaven, but today I have healing of my mind, my soul, and my spirit. I’m no longer “in-valid.” I’m a person—a wife, mother, sister, and friend—with a disability.

I pray my testimony blesses you. Though we may never meet here on earth, we are all sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus and heirs of the Kingdom of God.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-6 NIV.)

In Christian Love,
  Berta
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Sing To The Lord A New Song

My parents owned several small businesses when I was a little girl. At eight, I began helping in their candy store. “Yeah,” I thought, “chocolate and me, alone.” I worked my way up in the next business, a pool hall for teens. I served burgers, fries, and sodas while I learned how to shoot pool, dance to whatever was playing on our jukebox, and play pinball. By the time they had Don andfaith Barb’s café, I was working seven-days a week for tips. I grilled, fried, cooked, served and cleaned.

As a Navy corpsman, I again worked my way up. I improved my skills by putting all my effort into every task I was assigned. I continued to grow through becoming an LPN then an RN.

When I met Christ and sought His will in my life, I opened my heart to His teachings. Christian saints took me under their wings and by their example’s my faith increased. In Bible study, they patiently taught me to read and discern God’s word. I learned to talk to Him and listen for His “still, small voice.” I began looking for Him every day, in every way and you know what? He was always there.

When I have good days, or moments—He’s here. When I cry—He’s here. When my husband, daughter, sister or friend needs Him, we pray and He’s there. Don’t read this wrong, God isn’t a fixer. His Spirit is the comforter and guide.

Jesus words, “I will never leave you or forsake you” are true. But WE have the need to continue to grow in Christ all the days of our life. Pray to Him and listen. Worship Him. Sing psalms and praise Him. Read His word. Tell others what He’s doing in your life.

1 Sing to the Lord a new song;

    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

Psalm 96 NIV

In Christian Love,
Berta

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