Tag Archive | obedience

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 …

Read More

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!

Read More

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.

Read More

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

 

 

 

 

The Gift of Trust

Advent 2014

Day 13

 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”  “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. (Matthew 28-29)

???????????????????????????????By the time I met my husband, I had had enough negative experiences to cause me to be suspicious of everyone, even Gene. But he had soothed my skepticism with one word, “I’m telling you the truth. You choice whether or not to believe it.” Wow! I had a choice to make—trust my husband or not. Our future rested on my decision. I chose to trust him. He didn’t let me down. I had a lot of growing to do in order to develop that trust. But the moment I chose to trust Gene, my life changed.

When Jesus told Peter to step out of boat during that horrific storm, Peter had to choice to make—trust the Master or not.

Read More

Tomorrow, we’ll examine the gift of Jesus’ presence. Prepare by studying Mark 2:1-2.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

The Skeptical Shepherd

Advent 2014

Day 6 

Do You See What I See?

Do You See What I See?

As the night closed in around us, I pulled a sheepskin around shoulders.  The fire dwindled to a few ember coals. Snores and snorts rumbled from the lucky shepherds who had the privilege to sleep. Me? I drew the lot to keep the midnight watch with Luz and Kasiff—two of the biggest story weavers in all of Judea. At least the night would not grow dull.

“Come, Efraim.” Luz motioned for me to move closer. “Sit here between Kasiff and me. We will keep one another warm.”

“I’m not a child. You need not protect me.” The men laughed as I sat on the ground between them.

“Indeed, you are a man betrothed, so I hear.” Kasiff chuckled as he opened a pouch of figs and offered some to Luz and me. We each took a handful.

“Yes. I am fifteen years of age and betrothed to Dvora, the daughter of Baruch.” I spit a seed toward the fire pit. “But she will not come of age for six years.”

“Aw.” Luz nodded. “Waiting can be burdensome. Meanwhile, let us fill your head with the traditions of our people.”

“I have heard all the tales since my youth.” I pulled my fleece tighter. “Frankly, I’m not sure that they are any more than old shepherds’ wild imaginings dreamed up on chilly, starry nights such as this.”

Read More

This is a fictional story based on the Biblical account of Luke 2:8-20

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of the story.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda