Advent 2016 Day 2

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)

Read: Genesis 3:1-21

The Blood of the LambThe above passage records the fall of man. Yesterday, we saw that humans were created in God’s image … and they were good. Yet, they fell into temptation. God had no choice but to punish them. Thus we live in a corrupt world full of sorrow, disease, and death.

Although God had to punish Adam and Eve for their disobedience, He never stopped loving them. Even in their sinful, shameful state, He provided for them by sacrificing an animal to make them garments to cover their nakedness. While the Bible doesn’t state what kind of animal He sacrificed at the time, I believe it was a lamb because He demanded a lamb be sacrificed as a sin offering when He gave the commandments to Moses. We also know He accepted Abel’s offerings from the first born of his flocks, but not Cain’s offerings of fruits and vegetables.

These sacrifices are the foreshadowing of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins. He is the Lamb of God worth to be praised (Revelation 5:12-13).

Today, praise the Lamb who willing laid down His life so you and I may live.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

H is for Honor

“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (Revelations 7:12)

fall-path-4-webThe final letter in our P.A.T.H. acronym is honor. Praise opens the door to Adoration. Adoration leads to Trust. When we learn to trust God, we surrender our lives to Him. At that point, our lives take on a new dimension. We change our thinking to align with His precepts. We strive to do what pleases Him. We want to honor Him with our very existence.

Unfortunately, our human nature, which is in enmity with God, rebels, causing us to bring dishonor to the One we most want to honor. When that happens, God willingly, lovingly forgives us if we confess our failures to Him and seek restitution with Him.

The truly amazing thing about honoring God is He wants to honor us as well by calling us His children. What an honor indeed!

How about you? How do you bring honor to God?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Advent 2016 Day 1

I’m starting this a little late, but better late than never, right?

I wanted to follow the Jesse Tree idea this year. If you never made a Jesse Tree, you can get some great ideas here: http://www.feelslikehomeblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Jesse-tree1.pdf 

While I’ll be using Scripture provided in the above link, I’ll be writing my own devotions and using my own images and drawings. I pray your preparations for Christmas will be blessed as we journey through this Advent together.

Day 1

In the beginning God (Elohim) created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 AMP)

Reading: Genesis 1:26-31; John 1:1-4

In order to understand who Jesus is and why He came, we have to start in the beginning. I hope you took time to read the passages. (I added links to them for your convenience.)

Midnight moonIn the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them from nothing. He simply spoke and it happened. Not only that, it was good. On the sixth day, He created humans in His own image … not so much in physical appearance, but rather in spirit and moral ethics. In other words, He created them to be eternal beings and gave them minds from which they could create, plan, and make their own decisions. They had a body, soul, and spirit just like their Creator was/is a three-in-one being.

John expounds on the concept that God the Son, Jesus, was with God the Father at the time of creation. Jesus was the word, was with God, and was God. Through Jesus all things were created. He was also the light of the world, not a created being. He was God from the beginning. If you read the entire account of creation, you’ll discover God created the sun, moon, and stars on the third day. But on the first day, He said, “Let there be light.” Where did that light come from? Jesus, the light of the world. He said so Himself … When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Paul and John made other references to this fact. 2 Corinthians 4:6; 1 John 1:5-7; Revelation 21:23 and 22:5. (Links provided for you convenience.)

May the Light of the world shine upon you today and throughout this Advent season.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

T is for Trust

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

fall-path-4-web Please forgive me for skipping out on you the past two weeks thereby, dropping the ball on our P.A.T.H acronym. My mother has had some serious mishaps and is now in special care at the local hospital. We covet your prayers for her and the rest of our family.

If you’ve read any of my posts over the past several months, you know our family has been hit pretty hard with health issues this year. And it doesn’t look like the struggles are ending as the year comes to a close.

Nevertheless, we have hope in Jesus Christ, which brings me to today’s letter in our acronym. T is for trust. As we praise God for who He is, we learn to appreciate His attributes in new and higher ways. Praise unfolds adoration. Adoration opens the door to trust.

Trust is a key element in any relationship. But with God, it’s essential. It’s living and growing in us. And like every other living organism, trust must be exercised. We exercise our trust muscles in various ways. However, we reap the greater benefits through trials. When we stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon, facing a momma grizzly bear with three hungry cubs to feed, we either have to trust our parachute and jump or lie down and say, “Dinner is served.”

Sometimes on this path we call life, we have no choice but to trust and jump. Come to think of it, we have to trust God for every breath every day. He supplies our needs. He is the sustainer of the universe. He never fails, is always faithful, and completes the work He has begun in us.

Trials are part of God’s work. As He creates the image of Christ in us, He uses trials, calamities, and yes, health issues to chisel away at our pride, arrogance, and self-centeredness. With those same tools, He softens our hearts, develops compassion, and gives us a testimony of His mercy, grace, and abounding love.

God uses all things for our good to bring about good things for those who love Him and are called to His purpose (Romans 8:28 paraphrased).

It’s difficult to live by that verse at times. But God sends reminders to help us keep our faith as we exercise our trust in Him. Today, He graciously sent me one of those much-needed reminders while I read my devotions. We are able to confidently say, “this day” – with all its troubles – “is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24) – The Storytelling God: Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Parables by Jared C. Wilson.

Mr. Wilson’s words lifted my spirit. With that reminder, I realized the path God has prepared for me is straight and smooth. However, this physical path is full of twists, bumps, and roadblocks. But let’s not be perplexed by the physical, the more important path is the spiritual path that leads to our eternal home. Jesus said He is the way and He knows the way … follow Him. He straightens the path, smooths the bumps, and removes the roadblocks. We can trust Him to lead us to His kingdom.

How about you? How has God reminded you to trust Him more today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

A is for Adore

 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)

fall-path-with-deer-4-webThe more we praise God the more we fall in love with Him. Remember, praise differs from thanksgiving in that while we thank Him for what He does, we praise Him for who He is. The more we realize who He is the more we adore Him. Which brings us to the second letter in our PATH acronym.

 Adore

How can we not adore, admire, and worship one so lovely as our Father, Savior, and King. The more we meditate on His attributes the more we want to embrace Him. The more we embrace to Him the more we love Him. The more we love Him the more we want to surrender our lives to Him and serve Him.

Love is an overused term in the English language. We tend to say “I love you” or “I love an object” with the same enthusiasm and emotion. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

Because He demonstrates His love for us through His actions, He expects us to demonstrate our love for Him through our actions. It’s easy to say the words “l love you.” Demonstrating that love, however, is quite another matter. But we must learn to reach out to others, even to our enemies as God has done. It is the only way we have to embrace Him.

How about you? How do you demonstrate your love for God?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Make My Path Straight, Lord

Proverbs 3:6  In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

fall-path-with-deer-4-webThis past year, my path seemed anything but straight. It’s had more twists, bumps, and tummy-turning drops than the nation’s biggest rollercoaster and haunted house combined. We no sooner got beyond one incident that another one blasted us in the face.

I began to analyze Proverbs 3:6. If I submit all my ways to God, He will make my path straight. Hadn’t I done that? I thought I had, at least to the best of my ability. I asked the Father to reveal to me what I had missed. I learned that Jesus is the Way. In Him there is no darkness. And He never promised we’d go through life struggle-free. In fact, He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

“But what about the straight path?” I asked.

Again, my heart heard His words, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

I realized the path God has promised to make straight is the spiritual path we travel when we accept Jesus as our Savior and not the physical or emotional journey we travel in this world.

But how do we enter and remain on that spiritual path no matter what this life hands us?

I wrote on acronym using the word PATH to help us remember. For the next four weeks, I’ll share one of the letters on this blog.

P is for Praise 

God, not only for what He does, but for Who He is.

A good method of praising God is alphabetically name God’s characteristics. I’ve made a list to get you started. But by all means, add to it.

A – Almighty God, Author and Finisher of my Faith; B – Buckler, Banner; C – Christ, Crucified; D – Deliverer; E – Everlasting Father, Eternal; F – Faithful, Forgiving; G – Gracious, Glorious; H – Hope, High-Priest; I – Immanuel, Infinite; J – Justification, Judge; K – King of kings; L – Lord of lords, Lamb; M – Majesty, Marvelous in all His ways; N – Nobel; O – Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent; P – Prince of Peace, Propitiation; Q – Quick to Forgive, Quote worthy; R – Redeemer, Resurrection; S – Savoir, Sovereign; T – Trustworthy, Truth; U – Unique Son of God; V – Valiant; W – The Way, Wonderful; X – Excellent (okay, I cheated a little there. If you have an X word, please share it with the rest of us.) Y – Yahweh; Z – Zealous

How about you? How do you Praise the Lord?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Continue on the Path

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. (Hebrews 12:11 – 13 NIV)

fall-path-4-webDuring a painting session with my daughter, we worked on fall paintings in practice for an art party I had planned. Rachel, recuperating from surgery, enjoyed the calmness of the experience and worked diligently for two hours. Her energy spent, we called it a day and signed our “masterpieces.” Hers looked great.

Mine not so much. I lugged it home and analyzed it for several days. With the art party growing closer, I had to figure out what annoyed me so much with the painting and “get it right.” Gene pointed out that all my trees were basically the same size and color. I watched videos on YouTube. Studying the experts’ methods helped me determine what I had done wrong. I took Gene’s advice and varied the size and color of the trees. I incorporated some of the experts’ methods. I worked over five more hours on this painting until I was satisfied. Now, I’m ready to tackle another similar painting in preparation for the art party. And I’ve learned a valuable lesson—rushing through artwork can cost you a lot of time.

Rushing through life costs a lot of precious time as well. I think I know what I want to accomplish and how to achieve my goals. I rush in without much thought and even fewer plans. I fail. Then, I spend time researching the outcome. I seek advice from knowledgeable people. I even consult the Bible for answers from God. I work on fixing the problem, which now takes three times as long as it would’ve had I taken the time to do all those things before I messed up.

Ah, but all these things are part of the discipline our Father teaches us. No, it doesn’t feel good. In fact, repeating processes hurts. But God is at work in us, teaching us to turn to Him first. He’s producing righteousness and peace within us. He’s making our paths straight so we don’t stumble the next time or maybe the time after that. But eventually, we get it. Our wimpy arms and our shaky legs grow strong. And He places us on a path where we can reach out to others, teach them His ways, and encourage them to continue on course.

How about you? What discipline is the Father using in your life to strengthen you and to make your path straight?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks