Friday, July 29, 2011

Blessed to Relieve Hunger

I'll make you a great nation and bless you.
I'll make you famous; you'll be a blessing.
I'll bless those who bless you; those who curse you I'll curse. 
All the families of the Earth will be blessed through you."

Genesis 12:2

            Chatter at my parents’ maple desk where they took care of the farm and tax bookkeeping in the 1980s, centered around money, operating loans, debt, and feed, vet and seed bills. They were discreet; I was nosy. But my parents were honest, too.             
           I knew their concern as they learned about friends and acquaintances losing their farms. Newscasts bleeted about banks closing to a wave of bad debt-to-asset ratios. But I didn’t miss a meal.
            I remember Dad looking out the south window of our story-and-a-half farmhouse, and saying aloud, “The Lord will provide.”
            To this day, my mom insists that she and dad weren’t any better farm managers than anyone else. She credit’s God’s grace in this area, and they never lost their farm. That in absolutely no way says their friends and neighbors who did were loved less, or out of favor with Him.
            I love the grace of God. I love that He provides. For myself, for my siblings and for my parents, I am grateful. I love Him. I would love Him regardless the outcome of the farm crisis for my family of origin. Now, I wonder how He can use me, farmers today, and you to provide for the hungry.
            Growing up on a farm instilled in me a great respect for life, and for those who raise livestock, and grow feed for our animals, and food for our tables. So, the connection, for me, between people dying of hunger and the farmers I respect is pretty obvious.
            In America, each U.S. farmer produces food and fiber for 155 people here and abroad, according to American Farm Bureau Federation. That deserves applause. Go ahead!
            But today, we face a global food crisis. Check out the UN’s food security site for information detailing that at I’m not a big fan of the UN, but this information matches what I’m hearing in the ag industry.
            But here’s the deal. We can help. In America, only 10 percent of our disposable income goes to purchase food, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. In Pakistan, it’s 50 percent. The Philippines, 38 percent; Jordan, 43 percent; and China, 32 percent.  Face it; we’re blessed with higher incomes, and lower costs than so many other people.
            Samaritan Purse’s gift catalog choices like providing dairy animals, livestock and stocking fish ponds provide not just one-time food relief, but also sustainable food sources. And the love of Christ.
            I respect how Reformed Church World Service offers practical assistance, like food pantry donations and goats. I love the eternal difference made with the devotion to reaching people for Christ.
            So you want to help? Getting that food to the people who are hungry presents a challenge. But many responsible ministries exist, serving Christ and reaching out to the hungry here in America and worldwide.
Won’t you do something today to help?

    1. Go to this site:
    2. Type in your donation amount
    3. Under designation, choose Hunger/Food Pantries
    4. Finish the form
    5. Praise God! You’re blessed to be a blessing!

2.   Select what you want to give from categories like Farms and Livestock,
Ministry to Children and Meeting Crisis Needs
3.     Click the Complete your donation button at the bottom of the page
4.     Finish the process
5.     Praise God! You’re blessed to be a blessing!

©2011 Helene Bergren. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

War and Reconciliation

Astride a thundering, black horse, a woman, long, unkempt, brown hair whipping wildly in the wind, raises her sword, and points the muscular animal straight at Him. Straight at Him. My God.

Left to the nature of this world, I am at odds with God. We all are. Greed, selfishness, immorality — unholiness lures humanity. We need the Savior, the one true hero available to all mankind, so that we can be allied with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, all one God.

I still war with temptations, with unseen things of this world, but my eternity is locked up tight, safe and sound. And God is for me. Reconciliation accomplished.

Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:11 NIV

But for Jesus' death and resurrection, and the faith God planted inside me, God and I would be adversaries. What an astonishing way to become reconciled — through the goodness of the very One I've wronged.

What a joy that His desire for relationship with me is so great. What a gift. What incomprehensible love. Thank You, Jesus.

Helene Bergren © 2011 All rights reserved.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Peace with God

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 
-Romans 5:1 NIV

This makes me think fo peace in facing death, in a long-term illness situation, or in a sudden situation that may provoke fear - yet we/I have peace, factually, with God, because of Jesus, what He did, and because of my faith, which He gave me, and the grace He extended to me. The peace with God is a fact for me, because of my relationship with God through Christ.

This leads to my thinking about the comfort that the permanence of salvation provides. We need to be careful, and not let worry settle in if Satan or other people or circumstances cause us to think or feel not at peace or out of sync with God. I want my feeling of peace with God to refelct the unchangeable truth that I am at peace with God because of Jesus. That truth is a gift!

*In a small group I am participating in we are completing a workbook called "Can We Talk?" by Priscilla Shirer. The strategy the author encourages is to paraphase a passage, pull out spiritual truths and lessons from it, pose questions about it and how it applies individually, and plan and pin how to carry that out. It's been a great experience this summer even with all the interruptions this season brings.

Photo and Text © Helene Bergren, July 2011