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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

N is for Navigate

Eagles are Great Navigators

Eagles are Great Navigators

Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way (Proverbs 4:15-16 NIV).

Each day marks a step in our journeys. Yesterday has taken us in one of two directions—closer to or farther from our goals.

Last week, we talked about keeping our options open. If Plan A fails, move to Plan B, C, or Z. But the key is to move FORWARD. We can set all the plans on paper. We can work out tentative schemes in our minds. We can talk the talk. But until we, yes, walk the walk, we are drifting farther from our desired resolutions. Sorry, we do NOT remain stationary for long, in reality, not even for twenty-four hours. The longer we linger in our bad habits or present situations, the more difficult it becomes to break free of them.

We need to learn to

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Next Week:

S is for Stand. Prepare by reading and thinking about Galatians 5:1.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

L is for Loyalty

…be submissive… be pleasing and give satisfaction in every way. [be careful] not to talk back or contradict…to prove themselves truly loyal and entirely reliable and faithful throughout, so that in everything they may be an ornament and do credit to the teaching [which is] from and about God our Savior (Titus 2:9-10 AMP).

He Came to Set the Captives FreePaul wrote the above verse to Titus concerning the appropriate attitude and service of slaves…Christian slaves.

Many of us shrug off verses that apply to slaves. What could such passages have to do with those of us who are free? Some may say that these verses apply to the workplace, which in a sense they can and should be implemented there. But is it possible that God has a much deeper meaning for them—one that applies to ALL of us?

Peter said, “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them” (2 Peter 2:19).  Paul’s discourse in Romans chapter 6 reminds us that we are all either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. We are slaves to Satan or slaves to Jesus Christ.

If we’re still denying that we are slaves, read more.

Next Week:

U is for Understanding. Prepare by reading and thinking about Psalm 32.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Resolutions

Winter's Dream

Winter’s Dream

As we begin a new year and make promises to ourselves for life improvements, it helps to get a clear idea of what our plans consist. Over the course of the next eleven weeks, we will be looking at each of these aspects more closely. This acronym serves as an introduction

R—renewing. The nice thing about a new year…a new day is we can start over. But starting over doesn’t work unless we first renew our minds.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV).

E—endurance. Without endurance, we cannot succeed in any endeavor. Let’s determine from the beginning to stick to the task until we accomplish it.

…being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:11-12 NIV).

S—strength.   Regardless if we resolve to exercise our physical bodies or our spirits, strength comes from repetitive action. However, true strength resides in our relationship with the Lord.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him (Psalm 28:7 NIV).

Read the rest of the acronym here.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Captive or Free?

Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)? But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed.  And having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action). (Romans 6:16-18 AMP)

July 4th marks the day of independence for Americans. We celebrate it with pride. And so we should…many good men and women have died for our freedom to pursue life and happiness.

Freedom seems to be the desire of every human soul. But is it possible? Were we created to be free?

Face it, liberties only seem to free us from one form of bondage to enable us to chain ourselves to another form.

According to the Bible, we are slaves to whomever or to whatever masters us. We become servants to other people, our spouses, our parents, our children, our employers, obliged to do their bidding. If not people, food, drugs, alcohol, materialism, video games, the internet, or some other substance becomes our master.

What a pathetic lot we humans are!

Not only do we submit to physical slavery, we yield ourselves to spiritual lords as well. We either succumb to the laws of sin and thereby become slaves to it, or we surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ and thereby become the servants of righteousness. See Romans 6:18.

God created humans to worship, praise, and serve Him. But we resist His control and subject ourselves to other forms of control…other masters…masters that set us in chains, weighing us down with shackles so cumbersome we sink instead of soar. And our souls continue to cry out for freedom.

Thus, we find our only hope for freedom comes from submission to Christ. He came to set the captives free from physical and spiritual bondage. He did it by submitting Himself totally to the Father’s will. By His example, we understand how to live free from the bondage of sin and dependent on God the Father.

Yeah, it sounds like an oxymoron to say He frees us to make us slaves to righteousness. But since we are prone to slavery, isn’t it better to succumb to God? In doing so, our souls are set free.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks