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Butterflies

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Caterpillars inch their way through their existence, gorge themselves on foliage. It’s all they know. They’re content with life as they know it. They have no clue there is a better way, a better form of living awaiting them. All they can perceive is they most indulge in the things surrounding them, and then, they spin a cocoon. To them, this entrapment is death. They wake up a changed creature in a new world where they have wings to fly.

Like a caterpillar, we seek the pleasures of this world, indulging ourselves in all sorts of delights to satisfy our human cravings. We can’t help ourselves any more than caterpillars can keep themselves from gorging on leaves. It’s caterpillar nature. And seeking to satisfy our own desires is human nature.

Many people never look beyond this world. They have a caterpillar mindset. This is all there is. Enjoy the lusts of your hearts while you can for tomorrow you die.

But those of us who know Jesus have a different mindset. He has created a new creature in us. We look at things anew. Our existence no longer consists of just what this world has to offer. Although we still enjoy and embrace much of the wonders of the world, they are no longer our main focus. We know there is something much grander in store for us.

In a sense, when we submit to Christ, He wraps us in a cocoon. In whom [Christ] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13), Now we consider our new life on earth our cocoon existence. We have put of the old and put on the new. We are sealed in the Holy Spirit. God is creating the image of Christ in us as we live out our lives. We don’t know what we will be when we break free from this entrapment. But we do know we’ll be like Him. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself (Philippians 3:20-21).

As He creates Christ’s image in us, He delights in His creation. He sees us differently than we see ourselves.

I developed an acronym, using the word butterfly, to remind you and me of how our Father sees us.

B-beautiful. You are beautiful in God’s eyes because Jesus has cloaked you in His righteousness. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe (Romans 3:22).

U-unique. You are unique in God’s sight. He has created each of us with unique looks, abilities, and personalities. Just like butterflies, there are no two exactly alike. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works (Psalms 139:14).

T-teachable. God never stops teaching life lessons. Therefore it’s safe to say you are teachable. We never stop learning. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation (Psalm 25:5).

T-Talented. By God’s design you are talented. He has gifted you with special abilities, interests and desires to accomplish your purpose. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4).

E-empowered. The Holy Spirit has empowered you to fight the battles you face in this world and guarantees you the victory. That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16).

R-Radiant. When God looks at you, He sees the glory of Jesus. His Light shines in and through you. You radiate. We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).

F-Flawless. God has forgiven you. In His eyes, you are flawless through the work of Jesus on the cross. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).

L-Lowly. Yes, God sees you as a lowly, meek creature. One who needs provisions, protection, and lots of grace. But cheer up. Lowliness was one of Jesus’ earthly attributes (Mark 11:29). Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly (Psalm 138:6).

Y-You. God sees you in your little cocoon. He loves what He sees with all His heart. Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee (Jeremiah 31:3).

How about you? How does God see you?

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks

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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.

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

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

Fine China Breaks Easily–The Past Not So Much

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

 Every family seems to have at least one person who is directed to the sturdiest chair in the house and given a paper plate for his/her meal, while everyone else is eating off of fine China. Some people have a knack for breaking things. They’re the reason plastic was invented, I’m sure of it.

If only the past could be broken as easily as fine China. We’d all line up, eager to hand our past to these I-break-everything-I-get-my-hands-on people. They’d be commended for their special gift and mostly likely well paid.

At least, I’d be glad and grateful to paid someone to break my past for me.

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Next week:

We’ll discuss being alive in Christ. Prepare by studying Romans 8:9-17

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendrick

Generational Curses—Stop the Slavery

And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying. (Acts 12:11-12)

Anger Paints an Ugly Portrait colorGenerational curses come in many forms from drug and food addictions to anger induced rage. Not every obese person, tyrant, or pedophile can claim their conduct stems from a generational curse. We all have a sin nature and basically choose the path we travel. But some of our characteristics are passed down from generation to generation as the Bible says, “The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation” (Numbers 14:18). We learn and repeat the behavior patterns of those around us—good and bad. But generational curses go deeper into the soul than learned behavior.

How to recognize a generational curse:

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Next Week:

We’ll discuss Being Set Free through Recognizing Our Needs. Prepare by studying Luke 18:35-43.

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks

A Fate Worse than Identity Theft

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many.” (Mark 13:5-6)

TheifA handsome young man speaking with the voice of an elderly woman announces his “paid vacation” in the Bahamas. The scenario grabs our attention and even provokes a laugh … until we realize what the commercial is really depicting.  Then we quickly sober up. Identity theft is anything but funny.

I have never been a victim of such a crime. But I know several people who have been. One of my friends recently discovered someone in South Africa had made substantial purchases on her credit card and had dipped his hand into her savings. Fortunately, her credit card holder notified her of the extreme charges and voided them as well as the card. However, the stolen savings were not so easily restored. Furthermore, the bank froze all of her assets to protect her other accounts. That’s a good thing, except she has bills to pay. The mess could take several months to cleanup and to release her money. How is she supposed to pay her bills without access to her checking account?

Like I said, identity theft is a serious crime and causes a nightmare of complications for the victim to resolve. But Jesus warned us about a much more critical form of identity theft …

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Next, we’ll consider another form of slavery. Prepare by studying Luke 4:17-19.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

Prison or Training

Spiritual Warfare

Part 22

But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. (Genesis 39:20b-23)

A Single TearDepression unjustly imprisons us within our own minds with no means of escape. Concentration becomes almost impossible, most routine task undoable. When I suffered this disease, I questioned daily, “Why, Lord, why am I going through this? What have I done?” I felt abandoned, useless, and helpless. Yet none of that was true. God promises to never leave us alone, and He faithfully stayed by my side even though I wasn’t aware of it at the time. God also said He has prepared us for work, and He used me to help others who were also going through depression at the time. And continues to use me to encourage others. God also says He will help us in the time of trouble. He empowered me to cope and to overcome the strongholds that held me emotionally captive. He is faithful even when we are in the deepest pit.

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Next Week:

We’ll look at the captivity of the Israelites. Prepare by reading, pondering, and praying about Exodus 1:8-14.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks