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The Perfect Gift

I know you received this a few hours ago. But I discovered there was no sound to the first one. Sorry about that.

This is the final product of the project I’ve been sharing with you since the beginning of December. I hope it blessed you. I sure enjoyed creating it. It now hangs in my mother’s living room. She was delighted to receive it for her 87th birthday.

Next week, I’ll share another art video pertaining to God’s grace. In preparation, study Ephesians 2:1-10.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

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The Gift of Victory

[youtube http://youtu.be/ZhT2j_1gJho]

 

 For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:4-5 NIV)

The hope of victory over the curse of sin began centuries before King David sat on the throne. God had made a promise to Adam and Eve that a son would be born who would take away that curse, which sentenced them and everyone after them to hard labor. Decades later, Lamech, at the age of 182, prove his faith in the promise when he named his son Noah and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed” (Genesis 5:28-29 NIV). This took place generations before God called out a nation unto Himself from Abraham’s seed.

Through the ages, the Hebrews failed, were enslaved, and freed many times; but they held onto the hope of Israel—a messiah would come to save them and to rule the nations.

Jesus was that Man. However, God’s plan of victory differed from that of the Jews.

  • They thought He came to overthrow Caesar, but He came to defeat the prince of the air.
  • They thought He’d ride a white warhorse, instead He rode a donkey of peace.
  • They thought He’d organize a mighty army, but He surrendered without a fight.
  • They thought He’d reign on earth, but His kingdom is in heaven.
  • They thought He died for a lost cause, instead He died for lost sinners.
  • They thought death won, but Jesus conquered death and lives today.

We are now on the other side of the cross looking back in awe with gratitude and looking forward to His second coming. Then He will return on that white warhorse as the conquering King the Jews anticipated. His army of saints will follow Him to war and celebrate the victory over the fall of the enemy—Satan.

How about you? Are you enjoying the victory that overcomes the world through faith in Jesus Christ?

Next time, we’ll review The Gift via another time-lapse art video that brings the whole subject together. Prepare by studying Romans 6:19-23.

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Promise

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

He's Coming Soon!

He’s Coming Soon!

My father was a man of integrity. If I learned anything from him, I learned to never make a promise I couldn’t keep. He made few promises. But when he did, Daddy stood by his word. As intent as he was at not making promises to his family he couldn’t keep, he was even more concerned with making vows before God. Daddy understood the displeasure God takes in unfulfilled vows and thought it better not to make vows than to break them. My dad was a simple man and took Jesus’ words to heart:

“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all …  All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one (Matthew 5:33-37).

Because of Daddy’s integrity, I trusted his word. When he said he’d do something, I knew he’d make every effort to do it. Although I don’t remember him breaking a promise, I’m sure he did. He wasn’t infallible. Perhaps the essence of his promises came with these words, “I’ll do what I can.”

On the other hand, my heavenly Father never says, “I’ll do what I can.”

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Next time, we’ll look at the gift of victory via the video, which shows the completed picture I’ve been developing since the beginning of December. Prepare by studying 1 John 5:1-12.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

The Gift of Rest

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

Rest, Dream, Refresh

Rest, Dream, Refresh

There are mornings I get up, read my Bible, and pray. Then there are mornings I get up, read my Bible, and ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. I seem to sleep well enough. But when I read, my eyes become tired and before I know it, I’m snoozing rather than praying. The phenomenon of sleep doesn’t restrict itself to morning devotion time. It overpowers me in mid-afternoon or evening without warning. I’ll be writing on a project or chatting with one of my daughters on Facebook … next thing I’m aware of … an hour later … my daughter’s message: Mom. MOM. Did you fall asleep again?

I remind myself of two of my great-aunts who were talking on the phone until one no longer answered the other. This caused a rift between the sisters. Apparently the one who continued the conversation thought the other one had hung up on her. The problem resolved itself, however, when the talker went to her sister’s home to give her a piece of her mind face-to-face and found her sister fast asleep still clutching the phone. True story. No kidding.

Obviously my ability to fall asleep during inopportune times is inherited. But I’m still perplexed by it, especially when I think about sleeping over one-third of my life away. It seems like such a waste of precious time. And I’ve become more painfully aware of the precious, fleeting minutes of my life the older I get.

Yet, God, in His infinite wisdom, programmed us to need rest.

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Next time, we look at the gift of promise. In preparation, please read and think about 2 Peter chapter 3.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

The Gift of Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Although Christmas is almost a month past, the song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” rings in my ears. It could be because I’m unwilling to let go of my advent topics. Nevertheless, that song pricks my heart with its lyrics of peace on earth. When I hear news reports of child abuse, armed robberies, and mass murders, I want to cry out, with the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882),

And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Before writing this post, I took the time to read the story behind the poem …

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Next time we’ll examine the gift of rest. In preparation, please read and meditate on Matthew 11:28-29.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Hope

Advent 2014

Day 28

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:24-25)

The Hope of His ReturnMany of us celebrate Christmas with a hope of receiving something we long for but haven’t bought for ourselves. After we tear off the paper, open the box, and clasp the item, we no longer hope for it. We own it. It’d be silly to say we’re hoping to receive what we are already holding in our hands. Unfortunately, we often put the item in its place and immediately dream of something else. We never seem completely satisfied.

Maybe that’s where New Year’s resolutions came into play. We weren’t satisfied with the previous year or years
for that matter. The beginning of a new year marks a time of reflection on the past. In doing so, we recognize all the areas we could have, should have, would have done “it” differently with better results. So we resolve to improve our behavior, achieve more, give more, study harder, pray fervently, and just become all-round better people. Yes, we enter the New Year with high hopes and great expectations. But somewhere along the way …

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Next time, we’ll peek inside the Gift of Peace. Prepare by reading and meditating on John 14:23-31.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Light

[youtube http://youtu.be/uaEbWgGJ24M]

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)

Years ago while watching TV in our den, my daughter and I suddenly found ourselves sitting in the dark. The veil blanketed us in darkness as black as Dracula’s cloak. We joked about ax murders, monsters, and aliens at first. But the longer we sat there the more spooked we became.

“Let’s go upstairs now.” I headed for the door. “There’s a flashlight in Dad’s closet.” Rachel, although a teenager at the time, clung to my shirttail. As I opened the den door, a wave of darkness cascaded into the room almost bowling me over. It was so eerie our dog decided to stay in the den. Rachel and I clutched the banister and followed it up the stairs. No light, not even from the moon or stars, greeted us through the kitchen window. We walked our fingers along the wall as we pussyfooted down the hall to the bedroom and into the closet. I stretched, grasping the coveted flashlight and flicked on the switch. We blinked and squinted, adjusting to the light—glorious light.

Walking in spiritual darkness can be as scary as suddenly finding yourself in a dark room. We wander around searching for light … any light … to illuminate our way and give meaning to our lives. Eventually, we discover there are as many spiritual light sources as there are physical ones. And as our flashlight overcame the darkness that night, these forms of spiritual light override spiritual darkness to a degree. However as sure as there is only one sun in the sky, there is one true spiritual light source. All man-made lights can only simulate the sun. Similarly, all man-made religions can only emulate the true Light God has sent into the world.

It was no accident that the Light came in the darkness of night during one of the darkest periods in history. It was no accident that the Light opened the eyes of the physically blind. It was no accident that the Light suffered the cruelty of the cross, illuminating the darkness of the human soul. It was no accident that the Light overpowered the darkness of the tomb and rose again. As our world grows darker in this present day, it is no accident that the Light stands ready to return to claim His own.

How about you? Are you standing in spiritual darkness, searching for the Light? Why not grasp the spiritual Light of Jesus Christ? He’ll overpower the darkness and lead you to a safe place where you can thrive in His presence.

Next time, we’ll unwrap the gift of hope. Prepare by reading and meditating on Romans 5:1-10.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks