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Joy in Sorrow

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:1-4)

celebrating-life-eternal-4-webSix weeks have passed since my mother met Jesus face-to-face. We who remain are in the process of settling her estate. Not that she had much with which to contend, but there are possessions to disburse or to sell. My sisters, brother, and I have agreed to give the grandchildren whatever they’d like as memorabilia including furniture.

Last Saturday, I had the privilege to meet my daughters and one of my nephews at my parent’s house to allow them to make their selections. It was interesting to watch them pick and choose items that brought back precious memories. My older daughter, Melinda, chose Gram’s rolling pin with only one handle. My younger daughter, Rachel, chose Gram’s colander and wants to learn how to make Gram’s applesauce. My nephew, Bill, chose a silly, plastic, cartoonish statue with a saying on it about fishermen. He said it reminded him of Papa. Of course, they chose somethings of more value. But it was those items that amused me.

The time spent with those three “next-generation” adults was precious to me. There was no arguing over the more valuable items. They exemplified Paul’s instructions in Philippians 2:1-4.

But for me, I had the honor to say, “Here is your inheritance. Pick whatever you want as a token and memory of Gram and Papa’s love for you.” Each one came with items, “Can I have this?” With the exception of a few things that were promised to someone else, I replied, “Yes. Take it.” It delighted me to grant their wishes and to see the delight in their faces as they packed up their treasures.

As I reflected on this process the other day, I realized a deeper meaning … a foreshadowing if you will. It is our privilege, as Christians, to do the same thing with people we witness to. We have the keys to open heavens gates to fellow believers and non-believers and say look at your inheritance. It’s yours for the taking. Come. Receive. Drink. Eat. Embrace the love of God. Cherish it is as the great treasure it is from the Father who loves you with an everlasting love. Keep it in your heart. Display it for all the world to see. It’s yours. It’s mine. There is more than enough for everyone. His house is abundant with treasures and always shall be.

How about you? How have you found joy in sorrow?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

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Words Matter

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

Man and Woman 4 WebThere’s a fine line between reckless words and wise ones, especially when those words appear on social media. This is a difficult post to write because I want to end up on the healing side of that line.

Here’s what happened:

One of my mother’s friends visited her during the final days of her life. The friend sat on a chair at the foot of my mother’s bed and posted on Facebook that she was saying her final goodbyes to a dying friend. She mentioned my mother’s name and tagged my sister in the post. Her words were then read not only by her own “friends” but by all my sister’s acquaintances, include my mother’s oldest living sister. She and a number of other readers misinterpreted the message to mean that Mother had already died. To make matters worse, all my aunts thought we deliberately did not contact them with the news.

Another family member took it upon herself to make the announcement to the rest of the family again using the vice of a Facebook page. After she submitted the post she thought it reasonable to find out the facts, but never thought to contact the administrator of the page to delete the post after she found out the information was false.

The post appeared again two weeks after my mother’s funeral. I was very distraught about it and requested the post be removed from the family page. Admittedly, I was as bad as the others, although I did most of my damage in a private message to the family member. Yes, my words were more reckless than healing at one point. And I’m not making up excuses for my actions.

In the wake of all of this, some relatives have unfriended one another. There has been a lot of needless hurt and stress at a time when we should all be pulling together. Why? Because of one reckless post on Facebook. So unnecessary.

Here’s the takeaway:

  1. Your words matter whether spoken or written. People take your messages seriously.
  2. Never post someone else’s private matters on social media even if they’re true!
  3. Respect the rights of others. If the immediate family has remained silent about their situation, you have no right to publicize it.
  4. Verify everything you read on Facebook before sharing. Ask those involved, NOT relatives, when you can. If you can’t, don’t assume the message is correct and re-post it. Let it alone!
  5. Mind your own business. I don’t mean to be harsh here, but you can see how much suffering one reckless word has caused our family. Just tend to your own matters and let others tend to theirs.
  6. Ask for permission to re-post personal information and photos. Regardless of who posted the information, you don’t have the right to re-post personal information or photos on your timeline without permission.
  7. Put your mind in gear before you put your mouth, or fingers in motion.
  8. Gossip hurts. Stop it.

Social media would be so much more enjoyable if we’d all use words of the wise to bring healing.

How about you? How have you used your words today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

It’s 2017???

 “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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

moms-masterpieceI feel like I’ve slipped on a snow-covered mountain, landed on a heated fanny pack, and slid from November into the middle of January. That fanny pack had no brakes or controls. But it sure melted the snow, creating a fast, slippery path to the bottom of the virtual mountain. The only thing possible to do was hang on and pray God had the reins and no trees or boulders jumped out in front of me.

It was a rough ride. But here I am … standing to tell about it. Praise God for guiding us and making our paths straight.

On November 3, my mother injured her leg, which became sore and infected. The first night in a week she spent alone, she fell. No new injuries occurred. But her long-term degenerative disc disease became agitated. Unable to walk because of the pain, they placed her in a nursing home for rehab. Thanksgiving Day, we brought her home for the family meal. She went into A-fib and spent almost 2 weeks in the hospital until they got her heart rate calmed down enough to send her back to the nursing. More determined than ever to get back on her feet, Mom worked hard during her PT appointments. Progress was slow. But we saw some improvements. Christmas Day, she got out of bed and walked, with the aid of a walker, to the recliner across the room. It was like a marvelous Christmas present God had sent to all of us. She was so proud of her accomplishment.

2:00 a.m. December 26, the call woke me. Mom was having trouble breathing, and they had put her on oxygen. Later that morning, a phone call reassured me her breathing was easier. That evening, another call, this one from my sister, requesting we come into the nursing home. Mom said she was dying and wanted to see us. About 11:00 that night, another ambulance ride took her to the hospital again.

Ten painful days of watching her slowly inch her way into heaven took their toll on my sisters, brother, and me. But her suffering made it easier for us to say goodbye.

During all the heartache and grief, I could see God’s hand working in my mother’s Passover and in my own life.

He loves us all so much. He even takes care of small things that cause us extra stress.

There were two parts of planning her funeral that concerned me more than the rest. 1. The Sunday of her burial was to be bitter cold. And yes, I complained to my Father. I hate the cold. How could I stand outside on a hill for a half hour or so? 2. I didn’t want to pick out her coffin. The thought of going into a room filled with empty coffins made me cringe. I really didn’t want to go there.

Father knew my concerns even before I expressed them to him. He arranged for my pastor to perform the services when the pastor of my mother’s church declined do to previous commitments. Pastor Roger knew nothing about my anxiety about the weather. But he suggested the entire service be done at the church rather than going to the grave site. I felt a God-hug at that moment seriously.

Father also took care of the coffin selection without me even asking. My sister asked the funeral director if we could have the service on Sunday because of two different members of our family starting radiation treatments the next day. The director said, “Yes, on two conditions. One, you have the service at your mother’s church (we intended to do so anyway.) Two because of the rush, would you be okay if we simply did for your mom what we had done for your dad.” That meant they’d pick the coffin for us–the one we had for Dad. We knew these people personally and knew they could be trusted to do it right.

What a relief to put all things great and small in our Father’s hands. He does take care of us and gives us rest when we go to Him.

How about you? How has the Father given you rest and comfort recently?

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.

Adoption vs Foster Care

 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:16-17)

Jesus Cares for MeWhen my daughter and her husband adopted two teens, those children received the same provisions, the same shelter, and the same protection as our biological grandactives. The adopted children’s school photos were added to our family photo wall. We celebrated their victories and offered assistance during their struggles. Actually, they received all the benefits of being part of the family long before the paperwork made it official.

Although they had no choice when they entered the Walter household, when it came time for those papers to be signed, both teens were given a choice. They could have chosen to remain in foster care and still received all the necessities of life and the love, care, and nurturing. Even their pictures would’ve remained on the wall. So why opt for adoption?

It boiled down to security, knowing they belonged, knowing they always had a place to go to—a place to call home.

Entering the Kingdom of God is much the same.

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Next Week:

About being sifted like wheat at the enemy’s hand. Prepare by studying Luke 22:28-34

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks

Humility–A Powerful Weapon

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. (Luke 18:40-41)

Girl and Bug 2During her toddler years, my granddaughter had a condition known as low muscle tone, which made some activities at the playground a little difficult. But it never stopped her from playing with other children. When they climbed to a higher level on the jungle gym, she simply called out for help. It made no difference if she knew the other children or not. She admitted freely that she couldn’t manage without assistance.

The others came to her aid without hesitation. Some stood behind her and pushed. Others grabbed her arms and pulled. Each time, she ended up on the same platform as her friends, and they resumed their game.

Sydney knew her needs and limitations, but …

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Next week, we will consider another blind man who Jesus gave physical sight and later sought out to offer spiritual sight. In preparation, study John 9.

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Forgiveness

Advent 2014

Day 16

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:47

Those who are forgiven much love much

Those who are forgiven much love much

The day I sensed the Lord’s prompting to seek forgiveness from a friend to whom I had spoken unkindly, fears and insecurities crept into my soul. What if she demanded restitution of some sort? What if she totally rejected me? What if…what if I obeyed Christ and placed the outcome in His hands? I finally took up courage and approached my friend. She forgave me. Although our relationship mains somewhat strained, the sweet fragrance of forgiveness fills my soul with gratitude.

Gratitude for forgiveness motivated a sinful woman to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears. Jesus’ host, a Pharisee, hadn’t so much as given Jesus the customary basin of water to wash his own feet …

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Tomorrow, we’ll look at The Gift of Yielding. Prepare by reading and meditating on Matthew 21:1-11.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K.Hendricks