Worth the Wait

The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 AMP)

DSCN5168A week without a kitchen sink constitutes an interesting lifestyle to say the least. Our new cupboards are in place and functional—we put the knobs on them this evening. I even put a few items in their new homes. The microwave, stove, and refrigerator make it somewhat feasible to prepare meals. But the lack of a counter top and sink creates some difficulty in cleanup as well as food preparation.

Nevertheless, the dismantled kitchen is taking its toll me. I can’t find ¾ of our pantry supplies and utensils. I know everything is in boxes in the basement … but which box? The disorganization of that part of our house has flooded into the remainder of the house, including my brain. I find it more difficult than usual to concentrate, plan my day, and shift through priorities. Thus, my patience is growing thin. I’m anxious to see the finished product. I’m anxious to have full use of my kitchen. I’m anxious to reorganize. I’m anxious to have some sort of normalcy back in my life. I don’t want to wait for the contractor to come back to do the final adjustments. I don’t want to wait for the designer to install the counter top and sink. I don’t want to wait for the back-ordered faucet to arrive. I know it’ll be worth the wait. But still … I WANT IT FINISHED NOW!

In Jesus' EyesLet’s face it, remodeling isn’t the only aspect of life in which I grow impatient. When crisis strikes, God begins a new work in me, and I feel like a kitchen in the remodeling process. He has to tear out old habits, the shabby attitude, and the broken emotions before He can install a Christlike image in my heart.

Reconstruction takes time. My usefulness seems limited, almost dysfunctional even. Now and then, I sense His adjustments as His works. But I wonder if anyone notices the changes He’s making in me. I wonder if I’ll ever love and forgive others as God has loved and forgiven me. I wonder if I’ll ever get the hang of being Christlike.

Yeah, I know it’ll be worth the wait. But still …

How about you? How is God remodeling your heart into the image of Christ?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

Exposed

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. (1 Corinthians 4:5)

DSCN5157Gene and I are in the process of remodeling our kitchen. He loathes the dirt, clutter, and disorganization. Of course, all that is part of the process. You just cannot avoid the mess. Knowing the inconvenience is part of the package, we’re dealing with it just like everyone else who has gone through the process.

I also knew, when they moved the large appliances, we’d face an “angry,” grime-covered dust bunny or two. But I didn’t expect to find the cobwebs lacing the walls when they removed the cupboards.

The crud gave me pause, at least in the photo shooting. I’ve been taking pictures of the process to share on Facebook (yeah, just like everyone else). However, I thought I’d clean before snapping any shots of the bear wall and the area behind the stove. I didn’t want anyone to see my dirt.DSCN5159

I’m the same way with my flaws … my sins. I don’t want anyone to know, to see how painfully short I fall from God’s glory. I want to keep my spiritual “cupboards” in place. Soul remodeling exposes the angry, grime-covered dust bunnies within me that I don’t want to face. I don’t want anyone else to know about. And I especially want to hide them from God.

But that’s ridiculous. God already knows what’s lurking deep within my heart. He’s the one urging me to allow Him to cleanse and remodel me from the inside out. What is exposed, God covers with Jesus’ righteousness. He promises, everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light (Ephesians 5:13).

Therefore, I have nothing to fear. I only need to cry out to the Lord as did the Psalmist: Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7).

How about you? How has God been remodeling you into the image of Christ?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Speak with Grace

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)

Niagara Falls 2Saturday, my husband and I went on a bus trip to Niagara Falls. It had been 42 years since our last visit. To say things had changed would be an understatement. Where small souvenir shops existed, casinos now breakup the horizon. Motels in the form of skyscrapers replace single-dwelling houses. Giant Ferris wheels and water slides occupy areas where trees once lived.

But one thing remained the same—the falls. It’s majesty, power, and breath-taking beauty stood in stark contrast to all the manmade hoopla. God’s creation never ceases to amaze and inspire me.

After riding the Maid of the Midst, Gene and I walked through the aquarium. The clerk said we had about 40 minutes to browse before it closed for the evening. I snapped pictures of most of the underwater creatures, taking a few minutes to admire the unique designs of each exhibit … seahorses, poisonous frogs, and lion fish to name a few. In the last tank, the nimble appendages of coral danced, entrancing any onlookers. One lady stood close to the tank, like a small child who had never seen such a performance, truly mesmerized by it.

coral 6I watched with her a moment then said, “I don’t know about you, but I believe God created all of this.”

A huge smile lit up her face. “Yes, I believe it too.”

“How anyone can observe such wonder and beauty and think it just happened is beyond me.”

The lady nodded in agreement then said to her husband sitting on a nearby bench, “Did you hear what she said?” He shook his head. She repeated our conversation with enthusiasm.

I don’t know why I talked to that lady. I don’t often speak to strangers. Let’s face it, I don’t often speak to people I know unless they speak to me first. Nevertheless, I felt an urge to express my joy of the Creator at that moment. It seemed to be something she needed to hear. And for a brief moment, the lady and I connected. Our hearts sang a spiritual song of praise to our Lord without the spoken word.

How about you? How has God used you to make a stranger’s heart sing?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Be a Service Dog

All Scripture is God-breathe and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)

Lab 3 4 webBecause of a disabling disease, my friend Joan employs a service dog. This dog tirelessly caters to her every need from handing her shoes in the morning to replacing them at night. There seems to be no task he can’t accomplish short of driving her van and paying her bills. Impressive animal in deed, but he’s new at this. Although he’d been trained for two years and had earned service dog status before entering Joan’s household, he still has somethings to learn. You see, Joan is also deathly allergic to latex. The agency, which trained him, did not train him to detect latex. Joan has to do that herself. Not to worry, she trained her previous dog for her specific requirements. No doubt, she can train her new companion.

Joan hasn’t told me exactly how she managed to train her first dog to sniff out latex. But the end result saved her life more than once. One of the funniest stories she told me about it was, the dog grabbed a bag of chips from her and won’t let her open it. The only thing Joan and her husband could figure out was the company must’ve changed the ingredients in the glue used to seal the bag to include latex. Now that’s a sensitive sniffer. Joan could tell you many instances where that dog spared her a trip to the hospital and perhaps saved her life.

Like Joan’s dog, we are in service to our Master. He is training us to “sniff out” dangerous situations and warn those around us. We need to heed our Master’s voice. We need to develop sensitivity to demonic activity and satanic devices that could potentially destroy not only our faith, but also other’s souls. We need to warn those around us of the pitfalls set in their paths.

The only way to accomplish the “service dog” status is by studying God’s word and praying for discernment. Then put into practice what we’ve learned.

How about you? What have you noticed about your environment that could be a potential threat to those around you, and how have you shared your concerns?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

 

Words of Life—Words of Death

Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18-19)

Speak Life

Speak Life

As some of you know, my family is getting hit pretty hard with health issues currently. And friends want to comfort us with words of … of wisdom and encouragement? I know they mean well. However, they would do better if they’d remember the adage my mother hammered into my head—if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

Here’s the thing:

When disaster strikes, whether it comes through sicknesses, finances, or relationships, we all have stories to tell. Either we’ve experienced the crisis first hand, or we know someone who has. And we’re eager to relate to a person in crisis. Or are we simply eager to retell our story.

Before Gene began his radiation treatments, co-workers told him how draining radiation is; how miserable he would feel; how he’d miss work and not be able to mow his own yard. It was depressing to say the least. He came home from work more than once in a gloomy mood and said, “Why can’t anyone say something encouraging?”

When I was diagnosed with melanoma, people said things like:

“I know someone who has that. Every time she goes back, the doctor cuts her. She has scars all over her body.”

“I know someone who was diagnosed with melanoma and died within 4 months.”

“Melanoma? Oh my, people die from that.”

People mean well.

I know that. But we “put our mouths in motion before we put our minds in gear.” We want to make a connection. We want to verify we’ve been there too. We want to qualify ourselves to speak with empathy. I get it. But, can’t we do all that while speaking words of life?

Can’t we say something uplifting like:

“I’m sorry you’re facing this. I’ve gone through that. It’s not an easy road, but look at me. I’m okay now. God strengthened me and carried me through that trial. He’ll do the same for you.”

Do we have to spew out gruesome details?

The details grab and stab our victims … our friends.

The comments Gene and I have endured recently have taught me to think about how to relate to others by relaying my story. Are my words encouraging and life breathing? Or, are they discouraging and destructive? Can I tell my story without gruesome details and leave my friend with hope, comfort, and peace?

If not, I best heed my mother’s words and say nothing at all.

How about you? What story can you tell that breathes life into someone in crisis?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

 

Be Aware of the Giant Hoax

Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 AMP)

Giant Hoax

Giant Hoax

There’s a report floating around Facebook, claiming a group of archaeologists discovered the remains of giants in Greece, thus, proving the authenticity of the Bible. It even went so far as to say that one of the skulls they excavated could’ve been Goliath’s head. That particular skull was separate from the body and bore a crack between the eyes—obviously from David’s stone, according to the article.

At least one flag should’ve popped out at me—this dig occurred in Greece. David killed Goliath in Valley of Elah, which was in Judah not anywhere close to Greece. But no. I ignored that “tiny” piece of knowledge. In my zeal to prove the accuracy of the Bible, I reposted the news.

A day or two later, I decided to check out the creditability of the article on Snopes.com. In case you’ve never heard of the site, it’s designed to debunk rumors, myths, and legends and give us the facts. To my dismay, I discovered the giant-skeletal find was a hoax. Not only had I fallen for it. I caused others to fall for it as some of my Facebook friends reposted the spoof.

Ha-ha! The joke’s on us. These types of shenanigans make Christians look foolish in the eyes of the world. We owe it to ourselves and to our Lord to carefully investigate every article we post on social media and only post what’s true.

We also owe it to ourselves and to our Lord to carefully examine the teachings to which we adhere. Not all who claim to know the Word and preach it, study the Scriptures. Even our pastors and Sunday school teachers can falter in their understanding. We should hold one another accountable by studying the Bible and asking God for wisdom regarding His truth. When we fail to check the Scriptures to see if what we are being taught is true, we run the risk of spreading lies further diluting the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let’s show ourselves God-approved by examining the facts before repeating or reposting the spoof.

How about you? Have you ever reposted an article on social media that seems so terrific you had to share then found out later it was a hoax?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

P.S. To my Facebook friends who reposted the giant article, I sincerely apologize and pledge to be more careful to check out the facts before I repost.

It Left a Scar

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:29 & 32)

Experiences Drives a Deeper Understanding

Experience Drives Deeper Understanding

Sunday was an exciting day for me. I drove our pickup truck, not once, but three times. We’ve had this truck for 3 years, and I only drove it one other time. Before this truck, we had another truck for 16 years, which I only drove once or twice.

So why the truck-driving reluctancy you ask.

It’s not so much the size of the vehicle. I drove Gene’s pickup truck a lot when we first got married. But almost forty years ago, a car barreled off the bypass into our truck at an estimated speed of 55 or 60 miles an hour. It knocked the left front wheel off the axil. Amazingly, no one was hurt, including my 18-month-old daughter. Did I mention we didn’t have the fancy-schmancy car seats for small children they have nowadays? Our guardian angels were working overtime that day for sure

With or without angels guarding me, cars and trucks, approaching me from a left-side street panicked me for years. And obviously, I still struggle with getting behind the wheel of a larger-than-a-sedan vehicle.

It amazes me how incidents like that accident continue to affect our lives decades later. We can’t prevent mishaps, tragedies, or trauma. Nor can we eliminate the scars they leave. However, we are commissioned to do whatever we can to minimize the impact of such events in one another’s lives. Unfortunately, by our words, actions, and attitudes, we sometimes contribute to or are the cause of someone else’s lifelong struggles.

We can’t take back our thoughtless words. We can’t undo our inconsiderate deeds. We cannot erase the past.

Nevertheless, by God’s grace, we can start today to show genuine compassion. Speak edifying words. Touch others with Christlike healing hands.

How about you? How can you minimize someone else’s pain today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks