Advent 2015

Y is for Yield

Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife [Mary]. (Matthew 1:24)

And she [Mary] brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)

Mary and Joseph Yielded to God's will.

Mary and Joseph Yielded to God’s will.

Joseph could’ve ignored the angel’s message and carried out his original plans to divorce Mary privately. But he yielded to God’s will for him.

Likewise, Mary could’ve refused to become the mother of Jesus. She had the option to say, “No, thanks.”

From the beginning, there were options. Adam and Eve could have refused to eat the fruit of the tree. Perhaps they did many times prior to the moment recorded in Genesis. But eventually, Eve yielded to Satan’s ploy to become like God.

Since then, as we have seen through this study, the Bible portrays people who have had choices to make. Some chose well and yielded to God’s plan, while others yielded to their own desires and/or to the enemy.

To the day, we all yield either to God’s will or to Satan’s temptations. One or the other wins. We choose. However, God is faithful and will provide the strength we need to yield to Him rather than temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).

May God grant you the strength to yield to Christ throughout the duration of this Christmas season and the New Year?

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter Y?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

X is for Xmas

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11 KJV)

This shall be a Sign

This shall be a Sign

Now before you kick me off your blog list, let me explain why I say X is for Xmas. The message in the above passage was given to shepherds by an angel the night Jesus Christ was born. To them, the angel also charged with the responsibility of announcing His birth to those around them on that first Christmas night.

As time passed and more people believed in Jesus as the Christ (the Greek word for Messiah), they attached a symbol to His name—the first three letters of Christ in Greek CHI, which when written together resemble our letter X. That symbol became the universal symbol for Christ and had been used up until about a century or so ago.

Even after learning X symbolized Christ, I took offense when I’d see Xmas. Maybe you still do too. But consider this: no matter how hard they try to eliminate Christ from Christmas or the world, it cannot be done. Will I use Xmas? No. But I may say/write Merry Xmas back with a bit of a smirk to someone who says/writes it to me, knowing the X stands for Christ and they didn’t take Him out of Christmas at all. It’s impossible.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter X?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K Hendricks

W is for Wisdom

On coming to the house, they [the Magi] saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. (Matthew 2:11-12)

The Only Begotten Son

The Only Begotten Son

Knowledge told the Magi that something or someone important deserved their attention when they first saw the unusual star in the East. Wisdom prodded them to seek Him. Knowledge told them to seek Him at the palace. Wisdom told them to continue on their journey, following the star to Bethlehem until it rested over the house where the Christ child lived. Wisdom prompted them to pay Him respect by bringing expensive gifts, bowing before Him, and worshiping Him. Wisdom also urged them to heed the warning the Magi received in a dream not to report back to King Herod but to return to their home land a different way.

They didn’t have to make the any of the decisions they had made. They could’ve stayed home instead of wandering the country side, following yonder star. They could’ve turned back after talking with Herod and not gone on to Bethlehem. They could’ve given cheap gifts or none at all. They could’ve refused to humble themselves before the Christ child. They could’ve returned to Herod with a full report as to the child’s whereabouts. But they chose to respond with wisdom from God. (Read about the Magi in Matthew 2:1-12.)

We, like the Magi, have choices to make concerning the Christ. We have the knowledge of who He is and what He has done on the cross for us. Our response to that knowledge shows wisdom or the lack there of. If we lack wisdom, all we have to do is ask, and God will generously supply our need without finding fault according to James 1:5. Yes, God loves us that much. He doesn’t want us to miss out on the blessings of knowing His Son.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter W?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

V is for Vague

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2)

Learn from the Magi

Learn from the Magi

Although learned astrologers of the day, the Magi who followed the star from the east to Jerusalem had a vague understanding of the one whom they sought. Knowing the star represented someone of great importance, they expected to find him in the king’s palace born of royalty. Instead, they found him in a common house born of a lowly young woman. (Read about the Magi in Matthew 2:1-12.)

Like the wise men, people still have a vague understanding of who Jesus is and where to find Him. He is no longer the babe in a manager. He’s the resurrected Lord, victorious of sin, death, and hell. He’s our soon coming King to whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is LORD of lords and KING of kings.

How about you? What reminds your of Jesus that begins with the letter V?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

U is for Unique

He [Zechariah] asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” (Luke 1:63)

31 Design 24 colored 4 webThe birth of John the Baptist was as about as unique as they come save that of Jesus. John’s parents were childless and beyond childbearing years, much like Abraham and Sarah. John’s father, a priest, held the honor of serving in the holy of holies (the area of the temple that was entered once a year by one priest.) While Zechariah preformed the duties of priest, which included burning incense, an angel of the Lord appeared and told him he and his wife Elizabeth would have a son. In a state of disbelief, Zechariah questioned the angel. The angel in turn caused Zechariah to become mute until the child was born. But John’s uniqueness ended there. He was conceived and birthed just like the rest of us. (Read about Zechariah in Luke chapter 1:5-25.)

Only Jesus Christ is the unique Son of the Living God. His conception, His birth, angels appearing, proclaiming, and singing, shepherds adoring, wise men seeking was awesome, unique, and wondrous. But as amazing as His birth was, it was only the beginning of His uniqueness. No one compares to who He was, is, and shall be. NOTHING!

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter U?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

T is for Testimony

In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:42-45)

Love AbidesConfused and most likely terrified about the angel’s message, Mary decided to go to her cousin Elizabeth, also pregnant under unusual circumstances (see Luke 1:5-25). Elizabeth’s testimony as a response to Mary’s greeting must have come as a surprise and a comfort to Mary. But it was exactly the confirmation the young woman needed to gain strength for the emotional and spiritual journey ahead.

Likewise, our testimonies can enable others to go on, to walk the necessary path, to face the trials of life, and more importantly, to come to Jesus as their Savior.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter T?

S is for Savior

 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:30-33)

Jesus--The Lord Saves

Jesus–The Lord Saves

Another one of Isaiah’s prophecies was fulfilled in Mary–Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). The angel told Mary to name her son Jesus. The name means the Lord saves. Jesus came to save humanity from sin. He did so through His death on the cross. There, He took on the sins of the world. It was His purpose in coming as the Lamb of God. His mission complete, Jesus remained in the grave for three days. But death could not keep Him. On the third day, He arose the victor over sin, death, and hell.

We, too, join in His victory over sin, death, and hell when we accept Him as our Savior. There is no other name under heaven by which men and women can be saved (Acts 4:12).

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter S?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

R is for Repent

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” (Matthew 3:1-3)

Jesus--Our Example in All Things

Jesus–Our Example in All Things

Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist fulfilled one of Isaiah’s prophecies (Isaiah 40:3). As the prophet predicted, John lived in the wilderness, dressed in clothes made of camel’s hair, and wore a leather belt. Locust and wild honey became his diet. His message was a call to repentance—turning from sin back to God. He cautioned the people that the kingdom of God had come near. When the time had come, John baptized Jesus and proclaimed Him the Messiah (John 1:29-34). (All four gospels mention John the Baptist. Read about his miraculous birth in Luke 1 and about his ministry in John 1:19-34.)

While John called for repentance, Jesus came to fulfill that call in that without Jesus we cannot maintain a repentant heart. We, like the Israelites continuously turn from God to our own selfish desires. But through Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit to help us continue in the righteousness of the cross.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter R?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Q is for Quick

 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)

Lion of Judah

Lion of Judah

When God asked “whom shall I send,” Isaiah answered, as we should, “send me” without hesitation. Isaiah’s quick response proved his eagerness to serve God in faith. This willing servant became one of Israel’s greatest, if not the greatest, prophets of all time. Through Isaiah, God warned the nations of hardships, wars, famines, and destruction. But Isaiah’s most noteworthy prophesies are the ones about the Messiah. And Jesus Christ fulfilled them all. (Read some of Isaiah’s prophesies about Jesus in Isaiah 1:10‐20; 6:1‐13, 9:1‐7.)

Isaiah is a good example of how God can use a willing person who is quick to answer His call.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that starts with the letter Q?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

P is for Peace

 “Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!” (2 Kings 18:31-32)

Weathering the Storm

Weathering the Storm

By the time Hezekiah became king, Israel and Judah had split in two. Both nations had turned from God and built idols and altars to false gods. While Israel fell captive to the king of Assyria for their evil deed, Hezekiah tore down the idols and altars and trusted solely in the promises of Almighty God. The king of Assyria threatened to destroy the cities of Judah yet promised peace and good will if they’d surrender to him. Hezekiah held fast to his faith in God, and God delivered Judah out of the hands of Assyria. Although Hezekiah was one of the greatest kings of Judah, he fell short of total obedience, which caused nations to rise up against him all his live. (Read Hezekiah’s story in 2 Kings 18, 19, and 20.)

Like the king of Assyria, the world promises peace and prosperity but delivers war and hardship. Only through Jesus Christ can we experience true peace, not as the world offers but peace that comforts the soul and cannot be shaken by temporal events.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter P?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

O is for Obstacle

At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” (1 Kings 18:36-39)

31 Colored Holly Leaves 4 webLike all the prophets of the Old testaments, Elijah faced many obstacles as he related God’s message to the king of the day. The kings then, as those governing the people now, didn’t like hearing the truth—they had strayed from God and had worshipped idols. The kings wanted to hear that God was pleased with them and paid people to tell them so. Anyone who brought messages of destruction where often imprisoned or put to death. Thus the obstacles in the paths of God’s true prophets tested their faith as well as threatened their lives.

But Elijah remained faithful to God and boldly faced Ahab with a proposition from God, placing an obstacle in Ahab’s path of worship. Prompted by God, Elijah challenged Ahab to bring his 850 prophets of the false gods Baal and Asherah to Mount Carmel along with all the people. There, the prophets of Baal and Asherah built an altar to their gods. Likewise, Elijah built an altar to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–t—living and true God. The deal was, in turn, they each would sacrifice a bull, but not light a fire to it. That was the job of their gods. The one who answered and lit the sacrifice would prove to be the true, living God. Ahab’s prophets went first at the invitation of Elijah. They called to the gods. They shouted. They cut themselves with swords and spears, as was their practice, until evening. Yet, Nothing happened.

Then it was Elijah’s turn. He cut up the bull, placed it on his altar, and doused the wood with water. Then he prayed to God. Fire fell from heaven, consumed the sacrifice, and lapped up the water. (Read about all the obstacles Elijah faced in 1 Kings 17 through 2 Kings 10.)

Jesus also faced many obstacles as He carried out His mission to redeem the world. Before He began His ministry, Jesus fasted forty days. Satan tempted Him with every temptation known to man. The people whom Jesus healed and came to save mocked Him, beat Him, and crucified Him. But all His obstacles were part of God’s plan to prove His great love for us and to defeat the enemy through the blood of Jesus.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that starts with the letter O?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

N is for Noble

He [David] was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. (1 Samuel 16:12-13)

Jesus the Good Shepherd

Jesus the Good Shepherd

Samuel first met David as a shepherd boy tending his father’s sheep. The youngest of Jesse’s sons, David was considered by his father and the culture to be the least among the sons. However, God found him to be the most noble—the one whom He chose to reign over Israel.

David became king of Israel after Saul. Although David sinned grievously, he repented and remained faithful to God, proving himself noble to the core. Through David’s bloodline Jesus Christ was born. (Read more about David in Read 1 Samuel 16, 17 and 2 Samuel 7:1‐17, and the Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1).

Not only was David a descendent of Jesus, he was also a foreshadowing of the King to come. David was a lowly shepherd of sheep who became king. Jesus is the Good Shepherd of His people and someday He’ll be the KING of kings. There is none so noble as Jesus Christ.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter N?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

M is for Minister

And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days. And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. (1 Samuel 3:1, 19)

Jesus Came to ServeSamuel’s mother dedicated him to the Lord and presented him to the priest Eli when the child was weaned, probably between the age of two and four. Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli for many years as an apprentice. As he grew, he found favor with God who called him to be the last judge of Israel. The word translated as minister meant servant. Samuel served Eli until the priest died. Then Samuel served God. (Read about Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:1‐21, 7:1‐8:22, 9:15‐10:9.)

Among the many works of Jesus, we find, like Samuel, His most defining attribute was that of ministering or serving. Jesus left no doubt about the importance He placed on serving when He said “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Just as He came to minister to others, we, too, have an obligation to minister to those around us, to meet their needs, to care for them. Ministering is not about preaching or standing out in the crowd. We all have a ministry, a commission, a purpose which involves serving others.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter M?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

L is for Leader

And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian. (Judges 7:15)

 Almighty God is He!

Almighty God is He!

After the Hebrews occupied the Promise Land, they found themselves threatened by the surrounding nations because they did not obey God’s instructions to drive the inhabitants from their camps. The Hebrews also fell into idolatry repeatedly.

But God was faithful even when His people were not. He set up judges to guide His people back to Him. One such leader was an unlikely soul named Gideon. Gideon came from a poor family and was the least in his father’s house. And even though Gideon tested the Lord by putting out a fleece, God saw valor in the young man and chose Gideon to lead His army against the Midianites. The Lord sent Gideon and an army of three hundred men to fight the innumerable men of the Midian army. Not only was Gideon’s army small in number, they were armed with only trumpets, empty pitchers, and torches concealed under the pitchers. Oh … and God. During the night, Gideon and his men infiltrated the enemy’s camp. At Gideon’s signal, they blasted the trumpets and broke the pitchers, revealing the torches. God caused great confusion to fall on the Midianites, and they began to kill one another. Because Gideon trusted and obeyed God, he saved his people from the enemy. (You can read Gideon’s story in Judges chapters 6, 7, and 8.)

Like Gideon, Jesus was born of lowly state. However, He obeyed God’s instructions and saved the world from the enemy. Jesus is the Leader of the nations and will reign victorious forever.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter L?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

K is for Kingdom

So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. (Joshua 6:20)

Join the Lord's Army

Join the Lord’s Army

When it came time for the Hebrews to enter the Promised Land, Moses had died, and God had chosen another man to lead His people into their inheritance. But before they could occupy the territory, they had to defeat the established kingdoms. Joshua believed and trusted God to do as He said He’d do and led the Hebrews into battle after battle, conquering the nations as God directed them.

None of the battles were won by the strength of Joshua’s army but by the strength of God’s hand. One of the most well-known battles is the battle of Jericho. God instructed Joshua to have the men, including with the priests, march around the city once a day for six days. On the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times. On the seventh lap, the priests were told to blast their trumpets and the men were told to shout. They followed the instructions, and the walls of the city collapsed.

Battle after battle, God miraculously delivered the kingdoms of Canaan into the hands of the Hebrews as long as the followed His instructions.

We, like the Hebrews, have to follow God’s instructions if we want to enter His kingdom. And as He did for the Hebrews long ago, God will deliver us from the powers, principalities, and kingdoms of the air. Jesus came to assure and secure our victory.

You can read the story of the battle of Jericho in Joshua 6:20

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter K?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

J is for Jealous

 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God. (Exodus 20:4, 5)

cropped-cropped-cropped-banner-4-blog.jpgMoses led the Hebrews out of bondage. But Pharaoh changed his mind about letting them go again and, pursuing them with a mighty army, caught up to them at the Red Sea. This may have worried Moses and frightened the Hebrews, but Pharaoh’s army neither surprised God nor worried Him. He had a plan to demonstrate His power over nature and to destroy the Egyptian army for their harsh treatment of His people. God commanded Moses to raise his staff. The Red Sea parted. Over one million Hebrew men, plus women, children, and livestock crossed the sea on dry ground that day. However, when the Egyptian army followed the waters came together and drowned them all.

In the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of smoke by night, God led Moses and the Hebrews to Mount Sinai where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. The first four commandments deal with our relationship with God, reminding us to serve Him only. Because He is a jealous God, He will not share our affections and loyalty with anyone or anything else.

The other six commandments address our relationships with other people.

Nevertheless, if we remember to revere God and serve Him only, all the other commandment will fall into place. The problem is we can’t do it. We fall short. We allow people and things to replace God in our hearts. We take over the lordship and become our own gods. That’s why Jesus came and gave His life to ransom us from sin. And because of His sacrifice on the cross He has even more reason to be jealous over the allegiance of His people.

You can read about God giving Moses the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that’s starts with the letter J?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

 

I is for Instructions

 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. (Exodus 12:3, 7)

The Lamb of God Sacrificed for You and Me

The Lamb of God Sacrificed for You and Me

Knowing Pharaoh would refuse to let the Hebrews go, God sent Moses back to Egypt with strict instructions. God had a plan to show His sovereignty over all the people and their false gods. He sent nine plagues on the land that affected all the Egyptians but none of the Hebrews. Each time, Pharaoh promised to free the slaves. And each time, Pharaoh went back on his word. His actions may have surprised and bewildered Moses and the rest of the Hebrews, but God knew the Pharaoh’s heart. The Lord had one final plague that would strike fear in the Egyptian’s hearts causing them to not only beg the Hebrews to leave, but to send them away with an abundance of supplies and wealth.

The final plague was the death of the firstborn male in every household from the livestock to the people even Pharaoh.

Now God gave specific instructions to His people. They were to kill a lamb without spot or blemish. It was to be roast, not boiled. They were to eat it all in haste with bitter herbs. If any meat remained in the morning, they were to burn it. And the most important instruction of all was to smear the blood of the lamb on their doorposts. When God saw the blood, He passed over those houses. But in the houses without the blood, He killed the firstborn in the land. But He spared the Hebrews who had believed and obeyed Moses commandment concerning the lamb.

This event is the significant foreshadowing of Christ in the Old Testament. God has given His instructions concerning freedom from sin and death to all people. If we believe and obey by covering the doorposts of our hearts with the blood of the Lamb Jesus Christ, God will pardon and deliver us out of bondage. He will lead us into the Promised Land—His kingdom.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter I?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 H is for Hear

 And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. (Exodus 3:7,8,10)

God hears and delivers

God hears and delivers

According to Exodus 12:41, 430 years past from the time the Hebrews entered Egypt under the lead ship of Joseph until Moses them lead out of the land. During that time, the Hebrews had found favor with God and had increased in population as well as in prosperity. The Egyptians feared the Hebrews would overpower them. So the Egyptians placed God’s people in bondage with harsh taskmasters (Exodus 1). When the Hebrews continued to increase, Pharaoh ordered the midwives to kill all the male babies at birth.

Moses was born at this time. His mother hid him in a basket and set the basket in the river. Pharaoh’s daughter found him and raised Moses as her own son. When he became a man, Moses witnessed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave and murdered the Egyptian in defense of the slave, which put Moses on the run. He fled to the land of Midian, married, and became a shepherd (Exodus 2).

Meanwhile, the bondage of the Hebrews grew worse in Egypt, and they cried out to God.

After forty years of shepherding, Moses saw the burning bush from which the angel of the Lord spoke. God had indeed heard the cry of His people and now planned to deliver them through the hand of Moses.

As God heard the cries of His people, He hears our cries. His timing may seem long in the waiting, but it is always perfect. He delights in delivering us out of negative circumstances. But the cry He longs to hear from all of us is the cry of repentance. When we seek freedom from the bondage of sin, God is faith to deliver us through Jesus Christ.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that starts with the letter H?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

G is for Grain

Joseph gathered very much grain, as the sand of the sea, until he stopped counting, for it was immeasurable. (Genesis 41:49)

Symatric Flower coloredJoseph was Jacob’s favorite son. He knew it. And so did his brothers. They sold him into slavery and told their father he was dead. Talk about a dysfunctional family.

A wealthy man named Potiphar bought Joseph, found him trustworthy, and made him lord over his entire estate. Potiphar’s wife also found Joseph worthy of benefits of which Joseph wanted no part. His rejection angered the woman. She lied to Potiphar. Potiphar had Joseph thrown into prison.

The guard found Joseph reliable and put him in charge of all the other prisoners.

Eventually, Pharaoh had a disturbing dream and said whoever could interpret the dream would become second in charge of Egypt. God granted Joseph understanding, not only for Pharaoh’s and Joseph’s sake, but for the sake of all the people in Egypt and the surrounding areas. God had given Pharaoh a warning in his dream about seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.

Since Joseph interpreted the dream, Pharaoh put him in charge of the storehouses. As the above verse says, Joseph gathered more grain than could be measured. With it, he not only saved the Egyptians from starvation, he saved his own family—the ones you sold him into slavery and caused him so much heartache. What they had meant for evil, God blessed them with as well as Joseph.

There are many parallels between Joseph and Jesus. But the main one is God had a plan to save His people. Through Joseph, those who came to him for grain, God saved from starvation and being wiped off the face of the earth. Through Jesus, those who humble themselves and accept Jesus as the Son of God, God saves from eternal destruction.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter G?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

F is for Faithful

Then he [Jacob] dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” (Genesis 28:12-15)

SleepingWhen Isaac’s wife became pregnant with twin boys, God revealed to her that the older son would serve his younger brother. And Rebekah favored the younger boy Jacob, while Isaac favored the older boy Esau.

Jacob believed the promises God made to his grandfather Abraham. But apparently Esau placed little value on them because he sold his birthright for a bowl of lentils (Genesis 25:29-34).

Years later, Jacob robbed Esau of their father’s blessing and had to flee for his life as Esau vowed to kill him (Genesis 27), which brings us to the above verse.

While believing God, Jacob had problems with allowing the Lord to work out the details of His promises. However, Jacob proved to be faithful to God in his later years.

If we learn nothing else from Jacob’s life, we learn God is faithful even when we are not. God had a plan for Jacob to be the heir and the ancestor from whom Jesus Christ would descend. And nothing Jacob did surprised God, nor did it stifle God’s plans.

You can read Jacob’s story in Genesis chapters 25, 27-36.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter F?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

E is for Exchange

Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. (Genesis 22:13)

Abraham 4 web

Abraham and Sarah had a son in their old age, and they named him Isaac. They cherished him as you may well imagine. When the boy was about twelve years old, God told Abraham to take Isaac to the mountains and offer him as a burnt offering unto the Lord. Without hesitation, Abraham packed the needed supplies and with his son, began the journey.

As they climbed the mountain, Isaac said to his father, “We have the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb for the offering?”

Abraham said, “The Lord will provide for Himself a lamb.”

When they reached the designated site for the sacrifice, Abraham bound his son, laid him on the altar, and raised his knife to kill him. We can only speculate what either one of them was thinking. But Isaac, although he easily could have out run his elderly father, obeyed and trusted. And Abraham willingly placed his only son, the promised heir, on the altar, believing God would provide for Himself a lamb.

Just before Abraham struck that fatal blow to his son, an angel stopped him and said, “Don’t do it, Abraham. You have shown your faith and have proven your love for Me.”

Abraham looked up and discovered a ram caught in a bush by his horns. Abraham exchanged the ram for Isaac on the altar that day.

This event was a foreshadowing of Jesus. Jesus could have escaped from the Roman soldiers and from the Jewish high priest, but like Isaac, He willingly obeyed his Father and laid His life on the “altar” at Golgotha.

And as the ram became the sacrifice in place of Isaac, Jesus exchanged His life for yours and mine on the cross that day. He took the punishment for our sins. It is the reason He was born.

Abraham and Isaac’s story is found in Genesis 22.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter E?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

D is for Descendants

Then He [God] brought him [Abraham] outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15: 5‐6)

Children's facesWhen we first meet Abraham (Genesis 12), he’s 75 years old. He lives among a wicked people, and God calls him out from among them because Abraham’s a righteous and upright man. Abraham has no clue where God will lead him, but he takes his wife, his nephew, and all his possessions, including his servants on a journey to relocate according to God’s specifications. That is a lesson in faith right there. How many of us want to know God’s plans in detail before we agree to serving as an usher in our local church, let alone agreeing to move to another country with no idea of how we’re going to provide for our families?

But that’s only the beginning of Abraham’s example of extreme faith in God.

The above verse is part of a conversation between God and Abraham. Keep in mind Abraham was 75 years old and his wife Sarah was 65 years old when the Lord told them to move. At the time of this conversation, they had been travelling for several years, which puts Abraham in his 80s and Sarah in her 70s. Nevertheless, Abraham takes God’s promise of descendants seriously, although he does use his limited human understanding to try to figure out how that will be possible at their ages. God assures Abraham that Sarah will give him a son. And Abraham believes the Lord.

Unfortunately, Sarah’s faith isn’t as strong, and she convinces Abraham to take her servant, Hagar, as a type of surrogate mother. Hagar does bear a son to Abraham. But God reminds Abraham of His promise and says this boy is not be the heir of whom He spoke. Instead of being the answer to Sarah and Abraham’s dilemma, Hagar’s son soon becomes the cause of much grief. Eventually, Sarah insists that Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away.

This one lapse of faith cost Abraham dearly. But God is faithful even when we are not. When Sarah was ninety years-old, she bore a son to Abraham from whom Abraham’s descendants have numbered more than anyone can count.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter D?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

C is for Covenant

And God said to Noah, “This [rainbow] is the sign of the covenant (solemn pledge, binding agreement) which I have established between Me and all living things on the earth.” (Genesis 9:17 AMP)

Design 1Jumping ahead a few generations brings us to Noah. During his lifetime, people became so wicked God grieved and regretted creating them. But Noah found favor in God’s eyes. So God, while determined to destroy His creation, told Noah to build an ark in which he and his family would be saved. Although God planned to eliminate everyone else, He gave the populace of the earth time to repent and join Noah on the ark. Instead of listening to the call of repentance, they mocked Noah. For one-hundred twenty years, Noah pleaded with his neighbors to turn from their wicked ways. For one-hundred twenty years, Noah and his sons labored on their ark. For one-hundred twenty years, everyone else laughed at Noah and grew more wicked than before.

Finally, the day arrived when God told Noah to enter the ark along with his wife, their sons and their wives, and the animals God designated for them to take. It rained for forty days and forty night without ceasing. They remained on the ark for a total of 375 days. When the ground was dry enough for them to depart, Noah built an altar and offered burnt offerings on it. Pleased with Noah’s sacrifices, God made a covenant with him, stating He would never totally destroy the earth with water because of man’s wickedness. The rainbow is a reminder of that covenant.

Noah’s story begins in Genesis chapter 5 verse 28 and continues through chapter 9.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter C?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

B is for Blood.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)

The Blood of the LambSome of you squeamish types may not like today’s subject. I’m not one to relish the thought of blood, let along seeing it either. But if we’re going to investigate Jesus’ ancestry, we’re going to have to square our shoulders and face reality.

Blood is the essence of life. God doesn’t take the shedding of blood, whether it be human or animal, lightly. Yet, He loved humans more than any other creature. Therefore, after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, God clothed them in coats made of skin, which implies that He killed an animal for its hide, setting in place the requirement of an animal sacrifice to cover sin. This is the first foreshadowing of Christ’s sacrifice found in the Bible. Although the Bible doesn’t mention the type of animal, most theologians assume that it was a sheep since that is the animal God specifies when He gave Moses the laws for His people.

The writer of Hebrews understood the necessity of the shedding of blood and wrote, “In fact under the Law almost everything is cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness [neither release from sin and its guilt, nor cancellation of the merited punishment]” (Hebrews 9:22 AMP).

Blood sacrifice seems harsh and gruesome to many of us. But God wants us to understand the harshness of our sins. So He set the requirement from the beginning, which remained part of the Hebrew law until the time came for Jesus to fulfill the law.

Jesus was the Lamb of God sent to shed His blood for the remission of my sin and yours. He paid the price, which we could not pay for ourselves.

Blood is the essence of life. And through the blood of the Lamb, we find eternal life.

Howa about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter B?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

A is for Adam

The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. (Genesis 3:6‐7)

Creativity on the Loose

Creativity on the Loose

God created all that was and is from nothing. And He saw that it was good. On the sixth day, He created man in His image. He called the man Adam and gave him dominion over all other creatures in the air, sea, and on dry land. Adam named the animals and loved them. But he was lonely. So God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep then formed a mate for him. Adam called her Eve. The couple enjoyed the perfect world God had created for them. They also enjoyed God’s companionship. He visited them every evening and walked through the garden with them.

God had given Adam and Eve one rule to live by—Do not eat from the tree in the center of the garden, which was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. All other vegetation was permissible for them. Nevertheless, Eve found the fruit of the forbidden tree enticing and the desire to be like God even more tempting. So Satan disguised himself as a serpent, luring Eve into eating the fruit. She, in turn, convinced Adam to join her. Immediately, they saw that they were naked and hid themselves from the Lord. Because of their disobedience, God cast them out of the garden. He cursed the serpent, the land, and the couple. At the same time, He promised to send a redeemer to rescue humans from the curse.

During the next 25 days, we discover the steps God took to fulfill that promise.

You can read the events of the creation and Adam and Eve’s fall in the first three chapters of Genesis.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that starts with the letter A?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Advertisements