Tag Archive | obedience

I is for Impartial

“Now let the fear of the Lord be on you. Judge carefully, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice
or partiality or bribery.” (2 Chronicles 19:7)

Continuing the Alphabet Challenge, I chose Impartial for my “I” word.

“Mother always loved you best.” The punchline of Tommy and Dick Smothers always got a laugh from their audience. Maybe because it hit so close to home. Parents are often accused of showing partiality to certain children. In our family, my mother showed favoritism toward my older sisters and my brother. Of course if you asked any of them, they’d tell you she favored me.

The truth, for most families, is the obedient child receives rewards while the rebellious child reaps consequences. Godly parents are impartial. They offer the same rewards and consequences to all their children. Each child choices which course he/she takes, thereby, determines whether he/she receives favors or punishment.

And we’re the same way with our Heavenly Father. We rebel. We turn our backs. We refuse to obey. Then we accuse God of showing partiality. But God offers mercy and grace to all who will come to Him with a repentant heart (2 Peter 3:9).

How about you? What “I” word comes to mind that describes God?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Fueling Optimism

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” (Ezekiel 37:9)

Wayne's Trout 4 webDo you remember the commercial for a carpet cleaner in which the lady kept saying, “It’s okay” in a sickening sweet voice every time someone yelled, “Johnny just spilled … ?” I wanted to slap that lady silly while screaming, “It’s NOT okay. Teach that kid some manners. Sit him on a seat at the table where he belongs.” And then at the end, the lady’s friend, apparently the mother of the klutzy kid, chimes in with her own gotta-brush-my-teeth-to-avoid-cavities sweet tone, “It’s okay!”

That kind of “Pollyanna” attitude cleans the carpet about as well as it helps cope with daily stressors. Tough stains take knuckle-scrappin’, elbow-bendin’, muscle-tautin’ work to remove. And whether daily stressors or huge disasters threaten our tranquility, relief comes through more effort than a cheery “It’s okay.”

Fueling optimism involves a more solid conviction than merely reciting “positive” quotes and Scripture verses.

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How about you? How do you fuel optimism to get through these trying times?

Next Week:

We’ll consider the power of water. Please prepare by studying John 4:7-15

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

The Gift of Perseverance

Advent 2014

Day 24

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)

During my darkest hours of oppression, I learned the meaning of perseverance. Through my thoughts, the enemy tore at the very core of my faith, my purpose, and my self-worth. At first, I had no control over the negative input. He hammered me continuously with all the wrong I’d done throughout my life. He told me I was unlovable and worthless. But somehow within that flood of lies, the Lord spoke the truth. He said He loved me with an everlasting love; with loving kindness He had drawn me to Him (Jeremiah 31:3). The Lord said He had plans for me and would give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He told me the truth would set me free (John 8:32). And it did. However …

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Tomorrow, we’ll consider the gift of amazement. Prepare by reading and meditating on John 20:11-18.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Love

Advent 2014

Day 22

 

 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:12-13)

On His way to the cross, Jesus demonstrated the Father’s love and offered gifts along the way—gifts that keep on giving like forgiveness.

Affirming her gratitude for forgiveness, a sinful woman washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. She also anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume. Although her actions disturbed those present, they pleased Jesus. He said she had prepared Him for His burial and her deed would be told as a memorial to her for all time. Jesus gave the gift of forgiveness to us as well. We affirm our gratitude by forgiving others. It’s a gift that keeps on giving like the gift of obedience.

Obedience isn’t always easy, especially when it seems to lead to a difficult situation. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, He knew the road lead to His crucifixion. But He marched into the city with victory on His shoulders in obedience to the Father. Obedience is a gift that keeps on giving like the gift of authority.

Jesus exhibited His authority over sin and injustice the day He cleansed the temple. He also verified His authority over death a week later. He gave the gift of authority to His disciples and sent them out to spread the word of His appearing and to cast out demons. In turn, that gift has been passed down to every believer. Authority is a gift that keeps on giving like the gift of prayer.

Through prayer, Jesus knew and carried out the Father’s will. The Messiah encouraged His followers to pray often, especially on the night of His arrest. Jesus knew His fate. He needed time with the Father. He knew the fate of His disciples and their need for strength as the horrific events took place. He gave them the gift of prayer to help sustain them. And He offers the gift of prayer to each of us. Prayer is a gift that keeps on giving like the gift of surrender.

Surrender often implies defeat. But Jesus showed us it denotes love and can lead to victory. Had He not surrendered to the Roman soldiers that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, the prophecies concerning Him would not have been fulfilled. Jesus’ surrender was His greatest act of love. He had told His disciples that no man would take His life. Rather He laid down His life willingly in obedience to the Father who had given Jesus the authority to take it up again.

Jesus also said, “Greater love has no man than this: to lay down his life for a friend.” He called His followers His friends and gave us the ultimate gift of love—His life.

Love is a gift that keeps giving.

How about you? How can you offer the gift of love to someone today?

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the gift of defeat. Prepare by reading and meditating on John 11:1-14.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Prayer

Advent 2014

Day 19

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)

The Gift of Prayer

The Gift of Prayer

I enjoy having my devotion time first thing in the morning. Yes, the day does seem to go better when started with time alone with the Lord. However, I also stand guilty—if I don’t take time first thing, I don’t find time later in the day. It just doesn’t happen. Too many other things, time-consuming things get in the way. I’d like to also mention that my mind is more alert after a good night’s sleep. But that’s not the case either. When I pray, I find my meditation drifts into slumber. I occasionally reread a Scripture passage five times before I get to the end of it. I often read aloud just to keep from dozing off. So, when I read the passage about the disciples falling asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane, I get it…BIG TIME!

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Tomorrow, we’ll ponder the Gift of Surrender. Prepare by reading and meditation on Matthew 26:47-55.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Obedience

Advent 2014

Day 17

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” (Matthew 21:4-5)

???????????????????????????????When Rachel was learning to ride her bike at the cabin, her dad scream at her to turn around and come back. She did her best to obey, but her little legs couldn’t move her fast enough to suit her dad. He ran after her, picked her off her bike, and threw her inside (her words, not mine). She was scared. She thought she was in trouble. But she soon found out the reason for her father’s strange behavior. He and I had spotted a large bear quite a few yards away. But if he continues on his course, he would’ve ran between Rachel and our cabin. Fortunately, Gene’s actions not only frightened Rachel, they frightened the bear as well. It made a 90 degree turn in the opposite direction.

Like Rachel, we all need to do our best to obey those in authority over us, especially God … because sometimes we don’t see the bear running through the tall grass. But obedience doesn’t come easy for many of us.

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Tomorrow, we’ll consider the gift of authority. Prepare by reading and meditating on Mark: 15-18.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

The Gift of Grace

Advent 2014

Day 15

Jesus became God’s gift of grace and the gift that keeps on giving.

1.  The Gift of Submission

Although He never sinned, Jesus submitted to John the Baptist to be baptized. In doing so, Jesus identified with sinners and demonstrated complete surrender to the Father.

2.  The Gift of Humility

Although He had much work to do, Jesus welcomed small children.  He said adults must become humble as a child if they want to enter heaven. Children lose themselves in the moment. They act without hesitation. They accept the wonder of the miracles surrounding Jesus’ birth without trying to overthink. They understand with their hearts

3.  The Gift of Compassion

Jesus showed compassion to the multitudes of sick, blind, deaf, and disabled people who constantly flogged Him. He turned no one away. He never rushed past someone in need. He took time to speak to them, to encourage them, and to meet their deepest needs—needs of the spirit as well as the body.

4.  The Gift of Satisfaction

The miracle of the two small fish and five loaves of barley teaches plenty about satisfaction

  1. When we look to God for sustenance with grateful hearts, He supplies more than enough
  2. His provisions come from unexpected sources
  3. Jesus can do great things with small things
  4. Jesus will NOT send anyone away who diligently seeks Him
  5. Jesus supplies an abundance so that we have “leftovers” to share

5.  The Gift of Trust

Trust is one of the most delicate gifts we can give to another person. It breaks easily and must be handled with extreme care. But when we put our trust in Jesus, we need not worry about Him ever breaking it. Here are a few things we learn from Peter’s experience:

  1.  Focus on Jesus, and He’ll enable us to do the impossible
  2. Focus on our circumstances, and they’ll overpower us every time
  3. Prayers don’t have to be lengthy or complex
  4. Even when our faith fails, Jesus is there to help
  5. No matter how severe the storm, Jesus is always in control.

6.  The Gift of His Presence

Jesus’ presence is God’s gift to each of us. Many get caught up in the wrappings—His glorious birth, the miracles, signs, and wonders He performed, the ideal of living a life full of peace, joy, and love. And God’s gift of grace through Jesus is all of that and more. But His presence brings with it His holiness, which cannot tolerate sin. Therefore, we stand convicted. Our guilt pushes the gift away. Instead of immersing ourselves in it, we hide from it unwilling to open the package in its entirety.

Let’s not return the gift unopened this year. Let’s unwrap it and experience the true miracle of Christmas—God’s grace, mercy, and love through Jesus Christ.

How about you? Have you opened God’s gift of grace?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks