Sunday, May 25, 2014

What If...

Do you ever play the “What if__?” game? I have and do often. Today is no exception. “If I hadn’t gone to the farmer’s market when I knew I was hurting yesterday, my pressure sore wouldn’t look so bad.”

Yesterday. Saturday. The one day each week Earl and I try to get out together. One thirty minute trek was not the cause, but it sure played out that way in both our minds.

Complete bed rest and daily bed baths will continue for a long time to come.

If I hadn’t had the wreck. If I’d been more cautious. If I…

Then I go to “Why?” And you know where that goes. Still, I cry. “Haven’t Earl and I had enough, Lord?”

Now on Sunday morning, Earl prays healing for my sore and goes to church alone. I wonder how he does it—preach the Good News. I know the Holy Spirit fills him, speaks through him, and strengthens him. I pray that over him every night and by his example, I am encouraged.

I’m reminded of the banner I received twenty-three years ago and my reaction to it. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV). “What good can come out of this?” I asked.

I know God is making me more like Jesus. Living for Christ isn’t easy. His desire may seem too much for my mortal body. Yet, I strive for perfection in His calling and look forward to putting on my immortality.

I pray God will continue to use me in all circumstances.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4 NIV).

In Christ,
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Sunday, May 18, 2014

My Cheeks Are Wet With Joy

I lie here in my room.
A month. Now a year.
How long, O Lord?

Abandoned as one once loved.
Separated by circumstances.
Isolated and forgotten.
A tear tendrils down my cheek.

I hear one say.
“I’d be crazy.”
I reply.
“Welcome to my world.”

Satan hears my weakness.
And takes just that moment.
To whisper in my ear.
“God doesn’t care.”

In my tears, God reminds me.
Satan can’t read my thoughts.
He only hears my voice.
I lift it up to God.

My worship of God reviles him.
I bind and cast him out.
He has no authority.
I am a child of God.

 I thank Jesus for his sacrifice.
His cleansing healing blood.
And for this life he gave me.
Days of bad and good.

Even for this day.
Overwhelmed by loneliness.
I praise his holy name.
My cheeks are wet with joy.

By Berta Dickerson

Monday, May 12, 2014

Independent Wheeling

I may be a quadriplegic but I can still shop with the best of you ladies.

I browse through all kinds of stores independently. When in need of assistance I politely ask any person nearby. Most people pick up the item only to hand it to me. I explain, “I can’t use my hands. Please set it on my lap tray?”

When it’s time to check out, I wheel up to the register and explain, “I can’t use my hands. I need you to reach over and get these items, please?”

Discomfort shows on the associate’s face. I assure her it will work out as she rings up my purchase. I open my wallet, indicate which credit card I want to use and ask, “Will you run it through and sign my name, please?”

After scanning my card, she holds it out to me. I remind her, “I can’t use my hands.” She looks at me and returns my card along with my receipt to my wallet. Then she offers me my bag. I quietly ask her to place it on my tray. (Frequently another customer will step in front of me to lend a helping hand.)

Having a disability doesn’t have to negate independence. Wherever I shop, I make a point of talking to employees when I enter their store to set them at ease. I also take time to talk to other customers as I shop and often share my story.

You might wonder if I get aggravated when I have to repeat myself. I don’t. The people I encounter see my ability first and gain insight into living with a disability. I believe God uses my independence to enrich the lives I touch.

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful” (2 Timothy 2:24 NIV).

In Christ,

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Sinner Saved By Grace

Have you ever heard or said, “I’m a sinner saved by grace.” I know I’ve said it and read it on bumper stickers.

In my reading this week, this identification was challenged. Are we really sinners first? 

Are you a sinner? Is that the way the world sees you?

I know a man who worked in a factory alongside the same co-worker for twenty years. While on break one day this man pulled out his Sunday school lesson. His co-worker saw this and said, “I didn’t know you were a Christian.”

God cannot look upon sin. Remember that moment on the cross when Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) If God could not look at his only begotten Son who took on the sins of the world, how could he look at us as “sinners saved by grace?”

Once we were sinners. Sinner’s sin. (Habakkuk 1:13).

But we were saved once for all by the blood of Jesus when we accepted him as our Lord and Savior. (Hebrews 5:9) That salvation gave us a new name.

Saints. Holy people. (1 Corinthians 1:2).

God wants us to live out our salvation as saints who sin. In his grace, we spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in this sin-filled world by our words and actions.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me (1 Corinthians 15:10).

In Christ,

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