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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

More Like the Master

 

I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven. As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy. (Psalm 123:1-2 NIV)

Mystery ProjectTime has a way of slip sliding into the future, especially when obstacles come into play and rob you of precious hours. That’s what happened to me, thus the reason I haven’t posted for several weeks.

One of the obstacles I faced this month involved preparing my latest picture book What Were You Thinking, Nibs Rabbit? for publication. It didn’t want to cooperate with the specifications required. Currently, I’m waiting on a proof copy.

Another deterrent from blogging has come in the shape of my new ministry—art classes with a biblical message. You can check them out on my God Lessons on Canvas page.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m learning a lot through teaching these classes, which is par for the course. If you want to learn—teach. God shows us important life lessons when we study His Word and bring a message to others. One of the lessons I learned came through preparing a class. I like to “practice” on willing volunteers before the actual class. Usually my “willing” volunteers are family members who don’t have the heart to say no when asked if they’d sit through a practice run. My most willing student is my seven-year-old granddaughter Sydney.

The other week, she came for a sleepover and wanted to have an art lesson. Of course, I wasn’t going to say no to an actual, in-the-flesh, unpaid enlistee.

In the middle of the session, Sydney tossed her brush in the cup of water and cried. “I’m done. I’m never going to paint again … EVER.”

“Why? Honey, what’s wrong?” I sat next to her and wrapped my arm around her shoulder.

“My painting’s awful. I can’t do it like you.”

“Oh, Sydney, you’re painting shows a lot of potential. Don’t give up.” I picked up her brush. “Watch what I can do with it. It only takes a little bit more work.”

Then God spoke to me, and I shared this message with Sydney:

We all face difficulties in our lives. We feel like throwing in the brush and giving up. We cry. We scream. We may even stomp on our canvases. But God is always there, watching, waiting, encouraging us to continue the task set before us. Not only does He encourage us to continue, He wraps His arms around us to comfort us. He also, if we let Him, takes the brush and creates a masterpiece out of our messed up lives. The choice is ours. We can struggle along and maybe even make a worse mess. Or we can put our lives into the hands of the Master and allow Him to do whatever is necessary to correct and create a more clear image of Christ in us.

Sydney smiled as I worked on her painting. In a few minutes, she took the brush and said, “I can do this. Let’s finish it.” She was proud of her painting that day. And I was very proud of her.

How about you? Who has control of the brush in your life’s painting?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

PS: What do you think I’m working on in the picture above? I’ll post the finished work next week, Good Lord willing and obstacles don’t get in the way.

The Mystery Subject

 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

Mystery 1Can you guess what I’m drawing in this picture?

Some see the mystery subject at first glance. Others study it for a long stretch of time before figuring it out. Still, others shake their heads and go on with life quite unconcerned about it.

Those of you who want to know what I’m drawing will return to see the finished painting.

The point is I look at myself the same way. I struggle to see the “whole picture” wonder what God is up to in my life, what He’s creating in me. Sure, the Bible says I’m being fashioned in the image of Christ. But honestly, I don’t see it … not much anyway. I see failures, procrastination, disappointments, insecurities, and fears. No of the like are found in Jesus.

Maybe, I’m focusing the chippings that have dropped on the floor instead of the resemblance of His Son the Father is forming in my heart.

The fact is God has not revealed to any of us what we will be. But we can rest assured that we will be like Christ when He appears. And that’s really all we need to know.

How about you? What do you think I’m drawing on the picture above? More importantly, what do you sense God is creating within you?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

C is for Creative

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

Creativity on the Loose

Creativity on the Loose

Continuing with the Alphabet Challenge, I chose Creative for my C word.

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know I enjoy being creative—painting, drawing, writing, sewing, crocheting. If it has to do with using my hands to make something, I’ll give it a try.

Creativity fascinates me most because it’s our inheritance from our Father. Almighty God created us in His own image. Our ability to create proves it.

Yeah I know, other animals create stuff. Take the beaver for example. He builds damns. Pretty ingenious for a critter. But that’s the extent of the beaver’s creative abilities. He cannot design a bridge. Likewise, a spider can spin a web, but she can’t spin yarn to crochet an afghan. Birds construct nests of various shapes and sizes depending on their needs. But they’re limited to the “blueprint” of their species and lack the knowledge to change the pattern, let alone erect a skyscraper.

Humans are the only living creatures with the intelligence to create, design, build, erect, and weave new patterns from our imaginations. It’s quite an honor, don’t you think?

And don’t you dare think for one minute you don’t have a creative mind. Because you do. You may not be an artist, musician, writer, or performer. But you do creative things every day. Cooking, cleaning, gardening, arranging furniture, setting the table all take creative skills. Helping others resolve problems requires creativity. See what I mean? There’s not much the human mind determines to do that doesn’t take creative thinking to perform.

Creativity is a wonder gift from our Creator.

How about you? What word beginning with the letter C comes to your mind when you think of God?

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks

This Little Light

[youtube http://youtu.be/myxhErzGJG0]

 

Natural and manmade light enhances our world. Without it, darkness prevails. Nothing good exists in the absence of light, especially not color. Is it any wonder that darkness is synonymous with the absence of moral and spiritual values?

Whether it be physical or spiritual, darkness holds great power but cannot overcome Light.

Nevertheless, people all over the world have found themselves in spiritual darkness. Many have developed their own source of light to give comfort and a form a security. These manmade religious “lights” illuminate guidelines of conduct to secure a safe environment in which to live. But like a candle, these moral lights only simulate the real light God has provided for humanity. The artificial light of religion has no power to eliminate spiritual darkness. It simply chases it back and gives an illusion of wellbeing. However, the light God has provided through a personal relationship with Jesus obliterates darkness completely. In Him, shadows don’t even exist.

Not only does Jesus shine His light on each believer, He implants His light within us. Matthew 5:14-16 records Jesus words:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Let’s maintain the vision of Jesus’ light pouring out of us, illuminating this dark world.

Remember 2 Corinthians 4:17–For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

How about you? How can you let the light of Christ shine through you today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

One Reason to Blog

A Writer 3Many people within the writing industry insist that writers develop an online presence. One of the first things they suggest is to write a blog.

My question is why. Why blog when there are already millions if not billions of blogs on any given topic you dare to imagine. Follow the link to read some of the answers I’ve received.

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See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks