The Dogwood

Dogwood Blossoms

Dogwood Blossoms

The Legend of the Dogwood is a heartwarming tale. But it is just a legend. Nothing is recorded concerning the type of trees used in the days of Roman crucifixions. Nor is there any proof that dogwood ever grew in Israel.

Nevertheless, the legend reminds us of Christ’s sacrifice. Most who have heard the story think of the cross when they examine the flower—the drops of “blood” on each pedal and the crown of thorns in the center.

A closer look at the legend reveals so much more about the tree and about humanity. The dogwood, according to the legend, grew strong and proud as a mighty oak in that day. Then something devastating happened. Roman soldiers chopped it down, cut it into boards, and nailed the Lord to it. If trees were capable of grief and shame, the dogwood would’ve suffered as the story goes.

Be that as it may, two similarities to Christians exist in this tale of a strong, proud tree.

Read The Legend of the Dogwood and the rest of this post here.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Skunka Tony Stu on the Weather

It’s time for our annual weather predictions. Always a day ahead of the groundhog. HHHHHHHEEEERRE’S Skunka Tony Stu …

SkunkaTony Stu 2016

Click here for previous years of Skunka Tony Stu’s predictions

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Bright Morning Star

 “For you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.” (Malachi 4:2)

Bright Morning Star

Bright Morning Star is one of the choices your group may select for an art class. More Information

Working on a black canvas conjures up a lot of thoughts for me like the beginning of creation. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters (Genesis 1:1). I often think about that darkness so void of life and light, so vague and meaningless. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light (Genesis 1:1). Then God spoke light. Within that light, life existed. What wonder! What power!

Then I think of the darkness of my life as I walked in sin. Spiritually blind, I stumbled, was bruised, lame, and torn. No good thing existed in me. Then I cried out to Jesus and His light shined in my heart. For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (Ephesians 5:8).

Although I now walk in the Light of Jesus Christ, there have been periods of darkness—loneliness, depression, grief. Yes, Christians do travel through tunnels, sit in dark corners, and weather storms. But we have hope of seeing the Light again if we persevere. The darkest of nights give way to the Bright Morning Star. Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

The final area I tend to see when I look at my black canvas is this dark and dying world in which we live. As Jesus is the Light of our lives, we are to be reflectors of that Light. Do everything without murmuring or questioning [the providence of God], so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness], holding out and offering to everyone the word of life (Philippians 2:14-16 AMP)

As I study my canvas, I have choices to make. Read More.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

The Apple of God’s Eye

This is another lesson I offer during my God’s Word on Canvas classes. For more information on the classes and contact information, click here.

The Background

The Apple of God's Eye

The Apple of God’s Eye

The blue background of this painting supports and compliments the rest of the picture. Although it takes the least amount of time to paint, the end results hinge on the rendering of the background.

Similarly, our hope of resting in the Apple of God’s Eye hinges on our understanding of the term and how to achieve the status.

The concept of the apple of the eye stems from an understanding of what that black dot in the center of the eye actually is. In the early 1600’s people thought it was an object such as a black disk rather than a hole. Someone called it the apple of the eye. Then the apple of the eye meant nothing more than the pupil of the eye.

The Branch

The branch stretches across the canvas like a path, not necessarily a straight line. It carries the nutrients to the buds and blossoms.

Psalm 17:8: Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.

David sees God as his protector and provider in times of trouble and during the rage of the enemy. David trusted God to defend, provide, and protect him in all circumstances.

The Buds and Blossoms

indicate life and growth within a tree. Likewise our desire to be in the Apple of God’s Eye indicates life. And the way we fulfill that desire produces growth. We grow through God’s word.

Proverbs 7:2: Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.

King Solomon reminds us to remain within the apple of God’s eye—Keep His commands and live accordingly. And we are commissioned to keep God’s law as the apple of our eyes. We are to hold God’s law in high esteem, honoring it in every aspect of our lives. Then God will keep us as the apple of His eye. Think of how delicate and sensitive our eyes are and how we take all precautions to protect them. That is the importance we are to place on God’s word, protecting and cherishing it.

Read More

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Fruit

Grapes #3

Grapes #3

Now the question remains, what is the fruit of the vine Jesus requires from every believer? Some might say ministries such as teaching, pastoring, motivational speaking, and counseling. Others might think the fruit comes in the form of serving others as in nursing/doctoring, feeding the poor, and rearing children. While all these things are good works for which we were saved according to Ephesians 2:10, they are merely the byproduct of the fruit much like juice, jelly, and jam.

The Bible makes it clear the fruit of the Spirit, the fruit Jesus requires of the believer is love. Within love we’ll find joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. No matter what situation or occupation in which we find ourselves, Jesus requires love. Again, love consists of joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Just as the branch on a grapevine produces one fruit—grapes—and the grapes consist of skin, juice, fiber, and seeds. We also produce one fruit—love.

With that said, when you feel unproductive by the world’s standards in regards to a ministry, vocation, or charity, rethink the problem. Are you a fruit-bearing branch according to the Bible? Do you approach life, those with whom you come in contact, and your current circumstances with love? Where are you on the joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control Richter scale? We may not have the position in this life we’d like to have, but if we’re working on love with all its components, we are in good standing with Jesus. However if we have lofty positions in our churches, at our workplaces, and in our communities and display little love for others, we may be in danger of being disconnected from the Vine.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

Let’s be fruit-bearing branches. Let’s love one another as Jesus has loved us.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

The Branches

Grapes #2

Grapes #2

Obviously, believers are the branches. When we come to Jesus for salvation, He takes us onto Himself as hen receives her chicks or a vine receives a grafted branch. This is but another aspect of being part of His body. We are many members as we are told in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. We all have different functions, but we are one. It is Jesus’ responsibility to supply both our spiritual and physical needs. Our responsibility is to receive His righteousness, which ultimately produces good fruit. As members of His body, we carry that same responsibility to supply the spiritual and physical needs to the world. And thereby, bring others to Christ who are merely branches without the Vine. These branches are withering and dying. They need Jesus.

God’s sole purpose in grafting us into the Vine is for us to be productive, according to Ephesians 2:10—For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Although Jesus warns the unproductive branch will be cut off (John 15:6), that is not His desire or purpose. According to Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson, vinedressers value every branch. If a branch falls to the ground, they carefully wash it and tie it up again. They mend broken branches by wrapping them tight to the vine in hopes of restoration. Only if the branch is diseased beyond restoration or dead, do they cut it off and burn it.

Every time I fail, I picture Jesus picking me up and washing me off like a vinedresser does to a fallen branch. Jesus doesn’t discard me as a useless branch. He picks me up, washes me off, bandages my wounds, and holds me close again.

Although Jesus doesn’t discard us as useless branches, He may prune us to make us more productive. Pruning may come through health issues, financial struggles, relationship difficulties, or a myriad of other trials. Pruning hurts. Pruning is necessary. Pruning is beneficial. It also means we may have times of little productivity. Grape vines produce in abundance for several years. Then they “rest” for a couple of years, in that they produce less fruit than before. But their vinedressers don’t cut them off and burn them. They watch them. They fertilize them. And they wait. The branches eventually produce an abundance of fruit again.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Vine

This is the first of three posts pertaining to my art class in which we talk about The Vine, The Branch, and The Fruit.

The Vine:

 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5 KJV)

Grapes #1

Grapes #1

Jesus is the vine that produces life within us. I don’t know much about gardening let alone vineyards. But I do know you can take a healthy branch and graft it into a healthy vine. The branch adheres to the vine, grows, and produces fruit through the life-giving nutrients within the vine. The branch in and of itself withers and dies fruitless. If it rejects the vine’s nourishment, it withers and dies. Therefore, the fruitfulness of the branch depends on its connection to the vine. Through the process of grafting, farmers develop hybrid fruits and vegetables. One example of this is the tomato we use today. I didn’t know a couple hundred years ago tomatoes grew in clusters much like grapes. But through grafting, farmers developed the much larger single fruit that we now enjoy.

Similarly, Jesus has taken the unrighteous—you and me—and grafted us into Himself. He supplies us with spiritual nourishment and expects us to bear fruit. If we reject Him even though our fruit appears good to the human eye, it is rotten to the core and useless to the Husbandman (the Father, John 15:1). Only through our connection with Jesus will our fruit please the Father and serve His purposes.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks