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Putting Myself in Timeout

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)

 “Will you hold me, Mommy?” Eli said.

“Sure, come here.”

“I can’t. I’m in timeout.” Eli made a pouty face and looked at his grandfather.

Mommy looked up at her dad. “Can he get down now?”

Grandfather shrugged. “I’m not the one who put him in timeout. He put himself on the chair.”

Eli had misbehaved. Anticipating the typical response to his behavior, he climbed up on the chair, putting himself in timeout. This wasn’t the first time he had done so. He knows when he ignores instructions and continues to do what he’s don’t supposed to do, he eventually receives timeout as his reward. So to save us all from the aggravation of scolding and sitting him on a chair, he does it himself. The funny thing is, he often does so when we (the adults in charge) have no intentions of giving him timeout.

This little routine taught me a lesson about being a child of God. Occasionally, I do things that most likely don’t … perhaps don’t … well, okay, definitely don’t line up to my Father’s standards. Take procrastinating for example. I know He has specific tasks for me to do and guidelines for me to follow everyday. But I get sidetracked. I do things my way. I don’t get the tasks completed.

Then my guilt steps up to confuse the issue, allowing the enemy a foothold. The enemy tells me I’m lazy and unworthy of the task. So I put myself in timeout … procrastinating all the more.

Eventually, I confess to the Father that I’ve been worthless, unfaithful, and deserve to be punished. Do you know how He answers me? He answers by bring to mind the Scripture above–“There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” He also says, “I have not put you in timeout. Now get up and get busy doing the work I have called you to do.”

How about you? What’s keeping you from doing the work the Father has called you to do?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

Words of Life—Words of Death

Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18-19)

Speak Life

Speak Life

As some of you know, my family is getting hit pretty hard with health issues currently. And friends want to comfort us with words of … of wisdom and encouragement? I know they mean well. However, they would do better if they’d remember the adage my mother hammered into my head—if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

Here’s the thing:

When disaster strikes, whether it comes through sicknesses, finances, or relationships, we all have stories to tell. Either we’ve experienced the crisis first hand, or we know someone who has. And we’re eager to relate to a person in crisis. Or are we simply eager to retell our story.

Before Gene began his radiation treatments, co-workers told him how draining radiation is; how miserable he would feel; how he’d miss work and not be able to mow his own yard. It was depressing to say the least. He came home from work more than once in a gloomy mood and said, “Why can’t anyone say something encouraging?”

When I was diagnosed with melanoma, people said things like:

“I know someone who has that. Every time she goes back, the doctor cuts her. She has scars all over her body.”

“I know someone who was diagnosed with melanoma and died within 4 months.”

“Melanoma? Oh my, people die from that.”

People mean well.

I know that. But we “put our mouths in motion before we put our minds in gear.” We want to make a connection. We want to verify we’ve been there too. We want to qualify ourselves to speak with empathy. I get it. But, can’t we do all that while speaking words of life?

Can’t we say something uplifting like:

“I’m sorry you’re facing this. I’ve gone through that. It’s not an easy road, but look at me. I’m okay now. God strengthened me and carried me through that trial. He’ll do the same for you.”

Do we have to spew out gruesome details?

The details grab and stab our victims … our friends.

The comments Gene and I have endured recently have taught me to think about how to relate to others by relaying my story. Are my words encouraging and life breathing? Or, are they discouraging and destructive? Can I tell my story without gruesome details and leave my friend with hope, comfort, and peace?

If not, I best heed my mother’s words and say nothing at all.

How about you? What story can you tell that breathes life into someone in crisis?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

 

It Left a Scar

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:29 & 32)

Experiences Drives a Deeper Understanding

Experience Drives Deeper Understanding

Sunday was an exciting day for me. I drove our pickup truck, not once, but three times. We’ve had this truck for 3 years, and I only drove it one other time. Before this truck, we had another truck for 16 years, which I only drove once or twice.

So why the truck-driving reluctancy you ask.

It’s not so much the size of the vehicle. I drove Gene’s pickup truck a lot when we first got married. But almost forty years ago, a car barreled off the bypass into our truck at an estimated speed of 55 or 60 miles an hour. It knocked the left front wheel off the axil. Amazingly, no one was hurt, including my 18-month-old daughter. Did I mention we didn’t have the fancy-schmancy car seats for small children they have nowadays? Our guardian angels were working overtime that day for sure

With or without angels guarding me, cars and trucks, approaching me from a left-side street panicked me for years. And obviously, I still struggle with getting behind the wheel of a larger-than-a-sedan vehicle.

It amazes me how incidents like that accident continue to affect our lives decades later. We can’t prevent mishaps, tragedies, or trauma. Nor can we eliminate the scars they leave. However, we are commissioned to do whatever we can to minimize the impact of such events in one another’s lives. Unfortunately, by our words, actions, and attitudes, we sometimes contribute to or are the cause of someone else’s lifelong struggles.

We can’t take back our thoughtless words. We can’t undo our inconsiderate deeds. We cannot erase the past.

Nevertheless, by God’s grace, we can start today to show genuine compassion. Speak edifying words. Touch others with Christlike healing hands.

How about you? How can you minimize someone else’s pain today?

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

But It’s Only a Tiny Stretch of the Truth

Spiritual Warfare

Part 18

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44 NIV)

Trust is like Blown Glass Once Broken, next to Impossible to Restore.

Trust is like Blown Glass Once Broken, next to Impossible to Restore.

I absolutely loathe being called a liar. Not that I’ve never misled someone or told an untruth, but I don’t deliberately lie. I have very deep feelings about lying. The practice stems from Satan himself. And I want no affiliation with that old snake.

Lying is by far the quickest way to break trust with our closest associates, friends, and family members. I used to drill my daughters about the importance of telling the truth in ALL situations, even if it meant punishment was sure to follow. I reinforced the significance of lying by promising a much more severe punishment if they chose to lie and I found out the truth. There are several reasons why I hammered them constantly with this concept.

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Next Week:

We’ll consider some of the lies the enemy tells. Prepare by reading, pondering, and praying about 1 John 5:20.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Only Good Christian is a Dead Christian

Spiritual Warfare

Part 3

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24 NIV)

Crucified with Christ

Crucified with Christ

To the enemy, the only good Christian is a dead Christian. He commands that no soldier of the cross be left alive. Should one survive, the gospel of Jesus Christ will continue to spread.

Don’t panic! Satan has no authority to kill any of us before our appointed time, which God determined before our birth. Satan can, however, kill our testimonies. When we act like the world in our speech, in our dress, in our temperament, our testimonies are deadened and worthless. He strangles our joy when we allow grievances to overpower us and refuse forgiveness to others.  He suffocates our enthusiasm for the things of God when we permit temporal self-gratification to rule our lives. Thus, we become complacent prisoners of war.

Most Christians in a complacent state don’t seem to realize they are being held hostage. In fact, some become quite comfortable in chains with no desire to be free. They become “By The Way” believers who sit back not wanting to get involved. They never dream of sharing their faith outside the church. They claim to respect other religions. Tolerance becomes their new doctrine.

If they remain complacent long enough…

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How about you? Are you a “By the Way” believer, an “In the Way” believer, or an “On the Way” believer? What’s your plan of attack?

Next Week:

Prepare by reading, pondering, and pray about Ephesians 6:10-17. Yes, again. We will study the armor of God at His appointed time.

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks

Thank God for Differences

Soul Detox

Part 32

There are differences…but the same Lord. (1 Corinthians 12:5)

Differences—what a broad topic! There are differences in facial features, hair color and texture, skin tones, body shapes, and voices. There are differences of opinion, creeds, and doctrine.

???????????????????????????????There are variables of trees, grass, flowers, fruits, and vegetables…birds in the sky and fish in the sea and everything in between.

God loves differences. He created a multifaceted universe to hold His diverse specimens of life. And He saw that it was good!

Unfortunately, people don’t seem to share their Creator’s appreciation for differences. Sure, we like variety in nature. We even admire the physical differences of others. But, we try to change those around us to reflect our views and live by our standards. We even attempt to mold God into our likeness. That’ll never happen. Read More

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks