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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

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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

 

Learning from Joseph’s Dilemma

Advent 2014

Day 3

 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. (Matthew 1:24)

MessengersGod seems to talk to me more just before I fall asleep or sometime during those hours of subconsciousness. Why doesn’t He speak to me during waking hours? The answer is obvious. I’m too busy … busy with life, busy with trying to resolve my problems my way, busy with consulting friends for answers. I’m busy with things that consume my thoughts and prevent God’s thought to enter the equation.

Perhaps that was Joseph’s problem too. When he learned about Mary’s pregnancy, he considered all the options, I’m sure. All the options he thought reasonable at least. Unfortunately, marrying an unfaithful woman was not among them.

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In preparation for tomorrow’s meditation, read Luke 1:39-56.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

Into Every Life–a Mary-moment

Advent 2014

Day Two

 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:38)

"Do Not Be Afraid"

“Do Not Be Afraid”

If an angel appeared to you, how would you react?

Good question and one we couldn’t honestly answer unless it actually happened. Nevertheless, we can speculate.

Fear is the first thing that comes to my mind. No matter what we think our reactions would be, fear would be among them. Every incidence recorded in the Bible where it mentions angels appeared to humans, it also states those who saw the celestial beings were afraid. Mary must have been no different for the angel says “Do not be afraid.” So it stands to reason that if we saw an angel, we’d tremble with fear.

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In preparation for tomorrow’s meditation, read Matthew 1:18-25.

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

Lies Shatter Relationships

Spiritual Warfare

Part 20

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3)

Maui Blue 4 webSeveral years ago, I caught a new acquaintance and her daughter in a bold-faced lie. Not only had they lied, they looked me in the eye and did so. I’ve always heard that a liar can’t look a person in the eyes while telling a lie unless they are compulsive liars and are no longer capable of discerning the truth from the lie. That incident destroyed all hopes of developing a healthy, godly relationship with those women. We are cordial to one another. We smile and chat about superficial topics. But our relationship has little chance of evolving into a deeper, more meaningful friendship. Bottom line: I don’t trust them and have no desire to risk being hurt.

Just as a lie can destroy all hopes of developing a healthy friendship with other people, a lie can demolish our relationship with God.

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Next Week:

We’ll look at freedom, what it is, and why we seek it. Prepare by reading, pondering, and praying about Genesis 2.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

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