Prayer for 2011

Less of ME

more of YOU.

God, less of ME in all the areas of my life......

....less of my whining.

....less of my selfishness.

.....less of my criticizing.

....less of my selfish ambition.


More of Your GRACE.

More of Your LOVE.

MORE of YOU.... my actions. my thoughts. my WORDS.

Lord, I want to shine YOUR Light this year. I want to radiate YOU....not me. I want to be "the sweet aroma of Christ." I want to be filled with ALL the fullness of Christ. Lord, help me to put aside ME and allow YOU to flow through me. I love You, Lord.

A prayer for YOU, dear Reader-

May God be gracious to you and bless you and make His face shine upon you. May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon you- establishing the work of your hands. May 2010 be a wonderful year full of His gracious blessing. May it be full of PEACE, JOY, LOVE, and GOODNESS. May this year be a year that we all draw near to Him, basking in His Grace and His Presence. I pray that you, too, will seek Him with all of your heart.

Merry Christmas 2010!

May the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ bring you much comfort, joy and peace this holiday season as we celebrate His birth, life, and resurrection! During this beautiful season, we are reminded to put our trust and faith in the innocent baby born on that special night. We pray that Jesus will be the heart of your holiday, and that Christ will be the focus of your Christmas!

2010 proved to bring our family some big changes- some wonderful, some challenging and some very trying and sad.

We have entered the realm of parenting PRE-schoolers AND HIGH schoolers! Andrew is a freshman in high school and loves it (uh-oh….should we be worried?????). He played football for Linn Mar and really enjoyed it. Our youngest, Abigail began preschool, but since her older brother started “high school”, she was convinced that she, too, was in HIGH SCHOOL and called it that for the first month! As the youngest of 5, she really does think she belongs in high school as she tries to keep up with her older brothers and sisters.

This year began a new adventure of HOMESCHOOLING for the Berta family! Ashley, 6th grade, Aly, 4th grade, and Aaron, 2nd grade are all home with mom learning some great stuff (even some of it academic! Ha!) Seriously, it has been a wonderful, yet challenging school year with many valuable academic and life lessons being taught. Tracy has been in “7th Heaven” having the kids home. Brian finished the basement and made a beautiful school room and huge 7 foot desk for the kids. Tracy jokes that after 12 years of waiting for a finished basement, she would have homeschooled years ago! Ashley and Aaron are both “duel enrolled”, which means they go to public school for some subjects. Ashley, who loves music, takes orchestra and vocal at Oak Ridge Middle School. She is playing the violin. Aaron goes to Bowman Woods for gym and music. Both Ashley and Aly enjoy piano lessons.

The hardest challenge our family has faced this year is the passing of Brian’s dad. Les went home to be with Lord a day after his 85th birthday on November 18th. It was a very difficult and trying fall with Les suffering a massive stroke in September. We will sure miss him. But, we rejoice in knowing that we will see him again because of the hope and promise of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This year, we are especially mindful that Christ came to free us from sin and death. When we see the manger, we are reminded of the cross. Jesus made “ A WAY” in the manger….a way to overcome death and to live with Him in everlasting, eternal life. Jesus is truly our Savior, and as we grieve our loss, we are thankful that He is also, Emmanuel- God with us…with us to comfort us…to give us peace….to give us hope….to give us joy.

Our prayer for you, is that you, too know that Promise of our Savior and that you are reminded of the glorious riches to come.

May He bless you richly in this New Year. And, may the “God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.”

Merry Christmas and Happy 2011!

Oops! I did it again....

Well, I have done it again.

Expected people to fill my longing heart.

Expected people to satisfy me....

Expected to find peace in someONE, instead of THE ONE.

With everything going on my life....Brian's dad passing away....catching up with homeschooling after 2 months of his dad being so sick....trying to get ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas....trying to BE the WIFE...the MOTHER...the TEACHER...the FRIEND....the DAUGHTER....the SISTER...

My "love bucket", my heart, my spirit....has been emptying.

And, I have been looking to PEOPLE to fill it.

And becoming angry at them when they can't.

Feeling lonely.





I know the ONLY way to be filled.

The ONLY ONE who can truly satisfy...

OK, Lord.

Here I am.

Fill me.


are what I need.




First Posted 12/15/09

Does your family have Christmas traditions? Do you remember the traditions you had as a child? Ashley has been completing a unit on Christmas traditions at school and I thought I would share ours with you!

Merry Christmas!

My Family Christmas Traditions
By: Ashley Berta

Every family has their own traditions. The Berta family is no exception. We do a lot of fun things in my family to make Christmas special.

A few traditions…….

One of our traditions is we always have a Christmas tree. First, we get a live tree and tie it to our van. When we get our tree home, we bring up the ornaments from our basement. We have tons and tons of ornaments. The kids pick out all the ornaments that belong to us individually. Like, if the ornament says your name on it, you made it, or someone gave it to you, you would automatically get that one without taking a turn. We call it “automatic dibs.” Then we divide the ornaments between the four of us kids (we don’t include my baby sister, Abigail) and we take
turns going to the huge pile of ornaments and picking one. After we’ve picked all the ornaments, and there’s not one left, we trade.

We play “shop.” If someone wants one of your ornaments, they can trade one of their ornaments for yours. But, you don’t HAVE to trade if you don’t want to. If someone offers a trade and you
don’t like it, you’d say, “No deal!” to them. Finally, after we like all of the ornaments that we have, we shout, “Ashley’s (or whoever’s) ornament store is closed!”

While the kids are picking the ornaments, Mom and Dad put up the lights and tinsel. Then, we put up the ornaments. When all the ornaments are up, my mom makes hot chocolate, and we
spread out blankets around the tree, lie down, and sip our hot chocolate. While we’re sipping our cocoa, we talk about what we want for Christmas.

Another tradition is we do “Gift with Purchase”. This is when we decorate plain ornaments, or make a small craft that has something to do with Christmas. When we go shopping we give it
to a clerk at a check out center at a store.

One last Christmas tradition is we sing at a nursing home. We get into our van and drive off to the nursing home. At the nursing home we sing Christmas carols. We walk up and down the halls singing.

Christmas Eve…..

During the day, we decorate Gingerbread houses. The boys make one and the girls make one. On Christmas Eve we put out some snacks to eat. We never really have a meal. Then we get dressed in our matching, fancy, and dressy Christmas clothes to take pictures. After we take pictures we head off to church. We ride around looking at Christmas lights after church. When we get home, we eat more snacks, and sometimes watch a Christmas movie. But we always have to be in bed early.

Christmas Day…….

On Christmas day we kids are so excited to open presents! But my mom always makes us wait for my dad. He's hard to wake up! We can’t just say “Come on, Dad. It’s Christmas,” and he’ll wake up. No! We have to jump on him, and shake him, and pinch him, and so on. But the way he always gets up is by Mom’s kisses and sweet talk. YUCK!!!!

But when my dads finally gets up, Mom is ready with the video camera. She tapes us as we all walk down the stairs.

Sometimes it gets annoying because it takes FOREVER to just get down the stairs. When we do get downstairs we sort out our presents and open them from oldest kid, to littlest (or sometimes
the other way around), one at a time. And all the way through it Mom is video taping it. For the rest of the day we play with our toys, or watch our new movies, or whatever.

So this is my family’s Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and a few of our traditions! Every Christmas is the same at the Berta’s house!

Like Ashley, one of my favorite traditions is the "Gift with Purchase," an idea that I got from the book, "Redeeming the Season."

Our family makes simple crafts like ornaments, and then we give them to sales clerks, thanking them for working during the holidays. We make sure to include a scripture and message of God’s love through the birth of Jesus. The reaction of surprise and thankfulness of the clerks is so worth the effort! They love being appreciated!

This season, especially when you have the opportunity to spread Christ’s love with strangers, remember to keep Christ in Christmas. Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed in the details, but remain in His peace. Help your family to bask in the gift of Jesus….His love, His peace, and His hope.

Please take a few moments and join "At the Well" to see and SHARE some more Christmas traditions!

Give a “little Jesus”

This Christmas, give a “little Jesus” everywhere you go!
Shine the light of the Savior to everyone you know!
Tell everyone about this incredible Gift and His amazing love,
Share the Light, the Hope, the Joy and the Peace that only comes from Above. -Author Unknown

Greetings, all! May you be experiencing the excitement of Advent as we are preparing our hearts and lives for the celebration of Christmas!

I was talking with Andrew once when he was younger about his friends and his desire that they all would be saved. He realized he can’t “push” Jesus onto people, but has to “shine” Jesus, lighting the way to Jesus by his love, his actions, and his words to others. Andrew learned that he can’t just tell people, “You need Jesus or else you are going to hell!” (or at least, it may not be the most effective way). But, he has learned that he needs to first build a relationship with people, asking God to open doors for him, giving him the right words to speak, and giving him opportunities to share Jesus and Christian love with them.

But, what I explained to Andrew, is that we need to give people the “whole picture.” You see, Andrew is in a place of “I want people to know Jesus because I don’t want them to go to hell!” But, what I am trying to help him understand is that is only part of our faith. Yes, as Christians, we have this wonderful hope of the glory to come- we have the promise of Heaven and living eternity with our awesome God! Hallelujah!

But, that is not the “whole story.” When we have a relationship with Jesus, we experience this incredible hope, joy, and peace NOW, here on earth, no matter what our circumstances are. When we have a relationship with the Savior, we get a glimpse of eternity right here and now!

When we are walking with the Lord, we experience true LIFE right now, and it is amazing, wonderful, incredible, and wild! When people accept the Savior, they will not only “escape hell,” but they will experience never ending hope, unfailing love, abounding joy in any circumstance, and indescribable peace, even through life's most difficult trials.

Jesus is an incredible gift to share with the entire world!

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they will see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16
First printed December 2007

Thanks so much for your prayers....

Thank you all so much for your kind words of encouragement, prayers, and concern.... God is so good to provide such loving relationships in our lives.

Brian's dad, Lester Berta, went home to be with the Lord, the day after his birthday, Nov. 18th. He is an amazing man who touched many lives.He left a legacy of faith and family. It was amazing to look at a Czechoslovakian bible that had been in his family since 1923. He taught his five sons well and it was a beautiful thing to watch how they took care of their mother through all of this. He fought in 2 wars- WWII and the Korean War. He served his country well as a pilot in the Marines.He was an avid golfer and such a jokester! He would always tease us, especially Barb, his wife and his five daughters (in law).

He will be missed.

But, we don't grieve as those without hope. We are sad for our loss but rejoice in knowing there will be a day when we see him again. A day when his body will be healthy and restored. A day when we will all be together....HIS mom and dad, his brothers and sisters along with all of ours......a reunion like no other. We rejoice in the promises of God.

Thank you so much for your continued love and support of our family.

I'm still here......

Thank you all for sweet comments and emails. Life has been crazy this fall. I wrote about what has been going on and how quickly life takes a turn here.

My father-in-law is back in Intensive Care. He aspirated last Thursday and is again battling for his life. Today is a critical day because doctors will need to take him off of the ventilator.

I am coming to you, my prayer warriors to boldly come to His Throne, crying out to Heaven on our behalf! Please pray:

That LES WILL CONTINUE BREATHING ON HIS OWN! He was up to 50% last night.....please pray that he will be able to completely breathe on his own. Pray for his lungs. Pray they would be strong.

PRAY FOR HIS KIDNEYS. He had so much poison running through his body that his kidneys shut down. They are working so much better, but need to improve even more. He has about half of the toxins out of his body. Pray for this poison to be removed.

PRAY FOR HIS STRENGTH AND HIS FAITH. Pray that he puts all of his trust in God right now.

Those(Les) who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They walk and not grow faint.

Pray Psalm 46, 91, 121 over him.

Les is more than an overcomer in Christ Jesus (and he is! He loves the Lord). No weapon formed against Les shall prosper. He that is in Les is greater than he that is in the world.

Please pray the blood of Jesus over Les. Remember, "by His stripes, Les has been healed."

Please pray for his wife, Barb, and the five boys and their families. We NEED your prayers.

God is so good. The week before this happened with Les, Brian and I had gone to New Mexico. Brian had a work conference to attend and I was able to go. It was such a time to be with the Lord, experiencing His beauty and creativity, glory and awesomeness through nature. We breathed in His glory as we sat by the Rio Grande and at the foot of a mountain. The resort specialized in relaxation and I have never felt so rested. Looking back, it was like God was preparing us and strengthening Brian and I for the road up ahead. Thank You, Lord!

Here are some pics:

In the blink of an Laced with Grace

Do you ever find that life "happens" in a blink of an eye? I wrote about this at Laced with Grace and wanted to share it here.....

Have you noticed the beauty of fall lately? In Iowa, the leaves have become, almost overnight, a brilliant palette of golds, reds, oranges, and shades of green.

And, it has happened in a “blink of an eye.”

In fact, some trees are already completely bare- leaves turned, died and fallen to the ground in a crunchy blanket covering lawns.

In my life recently, I have seen two major changes- in the blink of an eye.

Two weeks ago, my sweet father-in-law suffered a massive stroke and is now fighting back to regain some sense of “normalcy” in life. He is having to relearn basic behaviors, including speech. Life has changed completely for our family “in a blink of an eye.”

The other change I was privileged to witness was a sweet, young girl accept Christ as her Lord and Savior. She attended a women’s retreat where I was the speaker. She began the weekend separated from God and left the retreat a NEW CREATION in Christ Jesus! Her life will NEVER be the same, and it happened in the blink of an eye.

Both examples remind me how important RELATIONSHIPS are in our lives.

Our family has rallied around my father and mother-in-law, all gathering around to help and support during this hard time. Family has never been as important as it is now. Life has taken on a whole new “preciousness.”

The sweet young lady who was welcomed into the Family of God, became a Christian because someone had taken the time to invest in a relationship with her. Her friend had been sharing the Gospel with her and brought her to the retreat.

Life happens quickly. We never know when things will happen- both “good” and “bad.” Life changes in a “blink of an eye.” Jesus tells us that the most important thing in life is to “love God and love others.” (Mark 12:29-31) Our relationship with God and with the people who He puts in our lives is so very important. It is so important to not waste the time God has given us, because life changes “in the blink of an eye!”

Father God, I praise You! You are awesome…glorious….so good! Lord, help me to always remember that life happens so very quickly. Lord, help me to prioritize my life and my time. Keep my eyes always on “the main thing”….always keeping YOU first place in my life. Open my eyes to see the importance of the relationships you have blessed me with. Help me to honor You in all my relationships. Give me a “Kingdom perspective” in all areas of my life. Thank You for the reminder that life can change, just as the fall leaves on the trees, “in the blink of an eye.” Praise You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.


Join me at Laced with Grace today where I will be talking about FREEDOM!

Do you ever find yourself wearing a MASK? Join me today at Laced with Grace to chat about that!

A Strange Place....

I recently shared this at the Cafe.....thought you may enjoy it as well.

I recently looked out my window and saw the strangest sight. Now for the outsider looking in, I am sure they would not even noticed it. For many, it would not have been in the least bit unusual. But, for us, it was a strange sight. In fact, it was worthy of calling the whole family around to stare out the window in disbelief!

Are you wondering what this amazing sight could have been?

It was a large white and gray colored CAT prowling around the INSIDE of our eight foot privacy fence!

What could be strange about a cat wandering around our yard, you wonder?

Well, we don’t OWN a cat! In fact, we own a LARGE dog who absolutely was going crazy at the thought of an intruding feline invading his space!

Our yard was NOT this cat’s home. In fact, this yard could have been very dangerous to the animal if we would have allowed our dog to have his way and let him outside. But, watching the cat, you would have never known that. He seemed completely comfortable roaming around this strange yard. In fact, he LOOKED like he “owned the place.” Our yard, to any passerby, appeared to be his home.

But, it’s not.

I thought about how I can so easily forget where my home is as well.

I make the mistake and believe this world is my home, strolling through, completely comfortable, as if I “own the place.”

“Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.” 1Peter 2:11, The Message

Many times I walk around “too cozy” or too comfortable in THIS world, accepting things that are not glorifying to God. Sometimes I have been distracted and deceived, led astray by my longings for the “worldly” things my flesh desires. Other times, I seek the approval of the world, instead of God. And, there are times when I mosey along in this world, not even aware of the danger, like the cat in my yard. Oh, how I want to remember at these times that THIS WORLD IS NOT MY HOME!

The NIV translation puts it this way:

“Dear friends, I urge you, as strangers and aliens in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.”

Lord, help me to remember this world is NOT my home. Help me to remember that You have set me apart from “the world.” Lord, help me to never be “cozy” here, but to keep my eyes and heart to be set on “things above.” Thank You, Jesus for Your forgiveness and Your Power to live this way! In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.


This is the peace I need....
how about you?

Visit the Cafe for more inspiration....

WHAT am I eating (and Am I stiff-necked???? Part 2)

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Father, give us deep insight into Your Word today in the name of Jesus Christ!

Yesterday we were looking at idol worship with the children of Israel (and thinking about idols in our own lives!). Remember God's people were spit into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah? We were following Israel and learning how they turned to other gods because they did "not trust in the Lord their God."

The Lord becomes very angry with them and "removed them from His presence." How sad! The chosen people, the children of God, to be removed from His presence. I am reminded of when Moses and the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness, and the people were constantly grumbling and complaining and NOT trusting God. God at one point gets so fed up with the people, that He tells Moses, "OK, go into the Promised Land. I will send an angel before you to drive out your enemies. BUT, My presence will NOT go with you!" Moses refused to go! He said he would rather be in the desert wilderness WITH God than in the abundant, wonderful land of promise flowing with milk and honey WITHOUT God! What faith! May I always have the same attitude!

So, Israel is removed from God's presence, and we shortly read that God allows them to be taken into exile. But, notice this only happens after they "persisted in all their sins and did not turn away from other gods." And, we read that God had continually "warned them through all His servants the prophets." Proverbs 1:30-31 says, "...since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes."

Aaaaaaaaaah! WHAT HAVE I BEEN EATING????

Yesterday we were cutting apples for a snack. The first one we cut into looked beautiful. It was large and red and looked delicious. But, when we cut into it, it was BLACK on the inside! It was so gross! There was no way anyone would want to eat this fruit.

As I think on this verse, I wonder how many "bad apples" I have eaten because I have refused to accept His advice or listen to His rebuke? How many times when the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit has tried to warn me, do I turn my head and walk in my own ways because "I know better" (at least I think I do!)? Oh, Lord, give me ears to hear and a soft pliable heart to obey!

Well, what really got me in today's reading is when we read about Judah (the other kingdom of the children of Israel.) Verses 18-19 say, "So the Lord was angry with Israel and removed them from His presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, and even Judah did not keep the command of the Lord their God. (NOW LISTEN TO THIS!) THEY FOLLOWED THE PRACTICES ISRAEL HAD INTRODUCED." And, sadly, they, too were removed from God's presence.

Wow! I was pondering this, and I wondered how many times do I look to other Believers INSTEAD of God and His Word in how to live? Sometimes we even begin rationalizing sin because we see other Believers doing it, and we think, "Well, if they are doing it, it must not be that bad. Maybe it is OK..." My mom (and maybe yours, too!) used to say to me when I was a kid, "If everyone else jumped off of the bridge, would you do it?"

For me, this story really brings home the fact that although I treasure the encouragement of others, I need to keep my eyes on Him and look to God to guide my walk. I need to seek Him daily. I need to "set my heart and mind on things above, not on earthly things." (Col. 3:1). I need to read His Word so that I can be filled with His Truth. I need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide me! I need to heed His warnings that He so generously gives!

Jude (New Test., right before Revelation) says, "But dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said, 'In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.' These men follow mere natural instincts (here is where our own "reasoning" comes in!) and do not have the Spirit. But YOU, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most Holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit."

So, my dear friends, I pray that you, too, will build yourselves up in the most Holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. My prayer is that you continue to seek Him with all of your heart. Keep your eyes on the eternal. And, finally, may you bask in His presence! May you be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God! May you be filled with all grace, love, and joy!

Be blessed today! Keep pressing on!

"To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy- to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen."

Stiff-necked? Me???????

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you. I always pray with joy... being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to COMPLETION until the day of Christ Jesus."

Glory! Yea! He is working in all of us- keep pressing on, dear ones!

Have you read 2Kings lately? Love "Kings".... This is the history of the people of God. They are God's children (supposed to be holy and set apart, remember?). The Israelites are divided into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah. (Remember Jesus is called "Lion of Judah"?) Now, both kingdoms have kings who rule, and 1Kings and 2Kings is about the people and the rulers of this time period. This takes place after King David.

What always amazes me about the people is that they continuously turn to other gods and idols to worship. Remember what God gave them as their first commandment to follow?

"You shall no other gods besides me." And then, "Do not make and worship idols." They serve Almighty God! But, they continue to turn to other gods.

When I taught 6th grade, we studied mythology- Roman, Greek, and Egyptian. We see Roman idol worship throughout the New Testament . Egyptian mythology is during Old Testament times. These people believed if they worshipped and paid homage to each individual god, the god would do something for them. There were gods for fertility, for the "afterlife", for success in war. When the Israelites turned to these "gods," hey thought the gods would help them in some way- with the harvest, fertility, or warfare success. Just to get an idea of how evil these practices were, "Adrammelech" and "Anammelech", gods of the neighboring people, required human sacrifice-their children!

So, the question always is, why do God's people continously turn away from God? And, how does that relate to me today?

Before we go there, let's take a look at 2Kings 17. This is what is happening in the Kingdom of Israel. "They worshipped other gods and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced." They look around and they start thinking, "Hey, maybe that will work for us!" They see the "world" around them trying things, and it seems to be working. They have harvests, they are doing OK. Nevermind that the Lord had driven them out years before! Nevermind that God had given the Israelites supernatural victory over them! They start to wonder if there are "better" ways of doing things.

"The Israelites SECRETLY did things against the Lord their God that were not right."


First of all, we can never do things in secret- God always knows! God knows the secret things! Secondly, if we are doing something in secret, then we know, deep down, it is wrong. We want to keep our sins in the darkness! But, Psalm 139 says, "If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to You."

How many times do we think we are doing things "secretly", somehow getting away with it? But, it is not secret from God!

So "they worshiped idols, even though the LORD said, 'You shall not do this'." God is so good, though! His heart cries out for us. He doesn't want us to go down these paths that lead to destruction. So, God sent prophets to warn the people to turn from their idols and worship only the LORD. But, the Bible says they were "stiff-necked and would not listen." Oh, God! How many times I am "stiff-necked" and won't listen despite Your warnings?! I go along my own way, thinking I know best, looking to the "world" to help me!

Now listen to this! They "did not trust in the LORD their God."

Well, there it is! It boils down to TRUST. Are we going to trust in the LORD our God, even when times are tough, or are we going to seek other ways to "bail us out?" You see, I get impatient or wonder if God's watch is broken! I don't like His timing! Or, life becomes uncomfortable and I turn to idols to comfort me...... a bit of chocolate.....a glass of wine....facebook....a shopping spree.....a TV show....

But, God tells me to wait! Wait for Him.....look to Him...turn to Him.

It is a matter of faith! Am I going to trust in the One who alone is trustworthy, or am I going to trust in the ideas of the world around me?

Why do we turn to idols? We have a lack of trust in the One, True God!

Well, Sisters, my prayer for you today is that You will "trust in the Lord with all of your heart. I pray you will NOT lean upon your own understanding (we think we are so smart at times and then we find ourselves turning to idols), but acknowledge Him in ALL of your ways, and then- THEN (HERE IS THE PROMISE!) HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT, HE WILL DIRECT YOUR STEPS."

Father, we give You all the glory! Thank You for Your patience!

Mother Theresa said, "I know God will only give me what He knows I can handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much!"

Our last week together.....

I so hope you can join with us At the Well sometime this week for the last (boo! hoo!) installment of Makeover of the Heart. It has been a wonderful and amazing 6 weeks watching as God has been working in our hearts and transforming our lives!

Come on over!

I rebuke the puke!!!!!!!

Well.....after eight or nine times of getting up with Aaron last night ( and several days of Abigail and Aly already having this junk!), I remembered this blog post from February 2008! I was giggling at 3:00 A.M as I was REBUKING the PUKE!!! Rereading it has encouraged me and I hope it blesses you as well! Here it is:

First published 2/8/2008
OK, now that I have your attention with that title.........!

It has been sooo long since I posted anything- since Jan. 18th. I have "written" so many posts in my head over the past few weeks. Does anyone else blog in their head?????? Anyway, it has been a crazy time for the Berta family and the enemy has been in full force on the prowl, attacking at every opportunity.

It began right after Christmas, with my hormones taking a weird swing, which resulted in a 36 day long period, trips to the doctor, exams and an ultra sound. I am great, praise God! But, I have a whole new appreciation for the woman who bled for 12 years and was healed by Jesus!

January continued with two repair man visits for our washing machine, extensive dental work replacing two crowns and 3 hours of drilling (ouch!), purchasing an elliptical machine that was malfunctioned (and several phone calls to Nordic Trac and Sears, who were both wonderful!), my 40th birthday (which was awesome, including a big party), 3 ice/snow storms, about 25 inches of snow, four snow days with the kids home, various school projects for my 3 oldest kids, and now the "sickies" running through 4 of my 5 kids, including Abigail, our baby. Ashley, the second child to come down with this junk, threw up blueberry oatmeal, which took the whole morning trying to remove the stain. Just when we sure we over it, Aaron threw up in his bed. (Will I ever get caught up on the laundry?????)

Today, while praying for Aaron, I couldn't stop laughing when I said, in the name of Jesus, "I rebuke the puke!" Thank you, God that you have a great sense of humor and that truly you do not give us more than what we can bear.

Interestingly, I am speaking in February at a ladies' retreat. Now, experiencing attack before a conference or retreat has been something I have come to expect from the enemy. He doesn't have any new tricks. He tries to distract me and steal the joy from my life. I know the temptation is there for me to question/doubt what I am speaking and teaching: God is great..... that "He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world."...... that "I am more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus"..... that I will have trouble and tribulation in this world, but praise be to God, Jesus has overcome the world! And, "I can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives me strength."

Now, you may be wondering what I am speaking on at the retreat. The message is about leaning on Jesus in daily life- depending on your relationship with Jesus Christ to triumph over the mundane day-to-day trials and tribulations of life, all the while experiencing joy and peace. God is so good! He always gives me lots of examples/experiences from my daily life to use as examples in my talks. LOL. Seriously, God does allow me, as a speaker, to live out the Truth I am going to be sharing with women. I am able to sympathize with their daily trials and share how God helps me.

The enemy wants us to believe that our God isn't interested in the "small" things of life. So many times it is not the HUGE disasters or crisis, it is the accumulation of all the ordinary things that get us down. We get distracted with life and all of its circumstances and we forget to bring it all to the feet of the One who can help us. Or, we think we should be able to handle it. The enemy whispers to us, "failure" when we struggle. We allow Satan to suck the joy from our lives, and we get "down trodden."

Beloved, our God is able to do "immeasurably (can't even measure it!) more than all we ask or imagine..." The Amplified says, "He is able to carry out His purpose and do super-abundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask (love that) or think[infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]...." And, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." God doesn't want to be there just in those horrible, devastatingly hard times of life, He wants to be there when we are living every day. He wants to be our joy, our peace, our Rock, and strength.

James tells us, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4.

I want my faith to be complete! I want to be mature in my faith! I don't want to lack anything! I know that in this life the washing machine will break down. I know kids will sometimes get sick. I know sometimes I will oversleep. There will be snow days. Things won't always go the way I've planned. But, my attitude in these daily trials is so important! I am going to purpose in my heart to remember that "the joy of the Lord is my strength." In all things, I am going to rejoice in Him. "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

Finally, because I have an enemy, because he does try to suck joy from my life and discredit my testimony of Jesus Christ, I need to put on the armor of God daily, standing firm against him. Ephesians 6:10-18, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (our husband, our kids' teachers, the check-out clerk, our neighbor, a friend who has betrayed us....) but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world...Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when (not IF) the day of evil comes, (the trials of daily living), you may be able to stand your ground....Stand firm with the belt of Truth buckled firmly around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish ALL the flaming arrows of the evil one (all of his plans and schemes- sickness, disease, broken appliances, disobedient children......). Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With all this in mind, be alert (that is a BIGGIE!) and always keep on praying for all the saints."

Father God, I come before you and praise your holy name! Jehovah, you are awesome, amazing, glorious! I love you, Lord! Father, I thank you for this opportunity to write, write, write all that has been on my heart. Thank you for sleeping babies and a quiet house. Lord, I pray this entry may encourage some precious heart that has been "down trodden" with the burdens and worries of life. Jesus, you tell us to come to you with our daily burdens. And, you promise that you will take them and trade them for a yoke that is easy and light. Lord, you promise that "you will give us rest." Remind your people, remind ME, daily that you are a God that cares about every struggle, no matter how big or small. Fill us with inexpressible joy that your Word promises. Remind us that this earth is not our home and that we have a glorious inheritance waiting for us. Remind us that Jesus tells us we will have trials and struggles here in this fallen world, but to take heart because He has overcome the world! Hallelujah! Lord, you don't want us to be depressed, beaten down, ready to give up. No! Lord, your Word tells us that we can have abundant life here on earth and that our joy is NOT tied to our circumstances, but tied to you, Jesus! Fill us, fill me, with this Truth to overflowing! In Jesus' precious name I pray. Amen and amen and amen!

Check this out.....

His Love is amazing....

His Love is amazing....He rebuilds all that is broken in our lives.

He loves us with an everlasting love. He has drawn us with loving kindness. He will build us up again and we WILL be rebuilt. Hallelujah!

Please visit the Cafe for more WFW!

Angels are having a PARTY!


God is so GOOD! Thank You, Lord!

I had the most amazing experience this weekend! I was speaking at a ladies' retreat where the most beautiful, precious young lady accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior! What an HONOR and PRIVILEGE it was to witness this!

Please pray for "C" as she experiences her New Life as a child of the Most High God! Pray for her protection. Pray for PASSION as she gets to know her beautiful Savior. Pray that she would fall IN LOVE with Jesus!

What about PRAYER?????

Yay! Week 5 of our Bible Study is up and ready At the Well! Please join me this week where we will be sharing about PRAYER.

Do you have questions about prayer?

Does God "answer" prayer?

HOW do I pray????

I hope to see you over At the Well!

Living out the JOY of Jesus...

Makeover of the Heart- A New Week!

I am so thankful for the amazing things I am seeing God do in the hearts and lives of the women participating in our Makeover! God is so good!

Please join us this week At the Well!

A Makeover of the Heart

Is your heart in need of healing? Please join us today for this week's installment of "A Makeover of the Heart." God has amazing things in store... Join us At the Well!

A Heart Delighting in God....

Last week was an AWESOME beginning to our study, A Makeover of the Heart. I know God is doing amazing things in our hearts....and there is GREAT transformation taking place! Please head over HERE, to the Well to join us.

Are YOU ready for a transformation?

While I was gone....

Brian was able to be the kids' teacher!

They had a field trip to the fire station. I am so glad they had a ball....and Daddy was able to see how busy our day is...

Are you a GRUMPY Christian????

Head over HERE to read about THEM!

Join us today!

Join me over At the Well today for the first week of our Bible Study! I can't wait to see what God is going to do in YOUR life!

Are you ready for a Makeover?

God is AWESOME!!!! Had an amazing time at the Woman's Retreat!

Did I tell you the topic was JOY????

Technically...."Everyday Celebrations."

The message was AWESOME! I can say that because it was ALL GOD! He was "showed up" and was HUGE! I can't wait to share more details throughout the week.

But, I promised the ladies I would get this up ASAP. We had technical difficulties...and had no sound. As you'll gotta have the sound!

Hope it blesses you (at least makes you laugh!).

Makeover of the Heart

I am thrilled to be leading my bible study, "Makeover of the Heart" over at the well for the next six weeks! I so hope you can join us. I know God is going to be doing amazing things through this study. There will be short video teachings, a blog post, and weekly download-able study guide.

Are you ready for a MAKEOVER?

I hope you join us (and please TELL YOUR FRIENDS! )Here is the information, straight from "At the Well":

We are gearing up for a BRAND NEW BIBLE STUDY here At The Well given by one of our very own – Tracy Berta!

In this age of extreme make-overs, we transform everything from our appearance to our homes. Join us here, beginning MONDAY, September 13th, to explore a different kind of make-over; A Make-Over of the Heart. Come experience a complete heart transplant, allowing God to take out your old heart full of its selfish desires and replace it with a new heart….

A Delightful Heart
A Healed Heart
A Committed Heart
A Prayerful Heart
Our make-over begins with our hearts delighting in Him. Take a glimpse into the hearts of Jabez and King David, and learn what it means to truly “delight yourself in the Lord.”

So many hearts today are crying out for love and are carrying wounds of the past that so desperately need to be healed. Allow God to reveal your hidden pain, to heal your broken heart, and replace sorrow with joy by trusting Him.God wants our hearts to be fully devoted to Him. Learn how He has given us power, through the Holy Spirit, over sin, temptation, and the desires of the world to live as free women completely committed to Christ.God wants a natural, living, breathing relationship with you and prayer is the way to that relationship. He also wants us to slow our lives down so that we can be still and listen! Allow Him to transform your heart into a prayerful heart.

Each week Tracy will have a short video where she will share a bit about the weeks lesson, followed by a few words from her heart. We will have each weeks lesson right here for you to download and do at your own pace throughout the week.

We want you to be able to share and discuss as you are working your way through the study, so each week we will have a discussion question for you to ponder and answer either in the comments or by writing a post and linking it to us. We encourage you to come back throughout the week and read the comments and take part in the discussion.

We are beyond thrilled to have Tracy lead us through this study and can’t wait to see how the Lord will transform and renew our hearts!

We will link to each week’s post as the study continues: