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Joy in Sorrow

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:1-4)

celebrating-life-eternal-4-webSix weeks have passed since my mother met Jesus face-to-face. We who remain are in the process of settling her estate. Not that she had much with which to contend, but there are possessions to disburse or to sell. My sisters, brother, and I have agreed to give the grandchildren whatever they’d like as memorabilia including furniture.

Last Saturday, I had the privilege to meet my daughters and one of my nephews at my parent’s house to allow them to make their selections. It was interesting to watch them pick and choose items that brought back precious memories. My older daughter, Melinda, chose Gram’s rolling pin with only one handle. My younger daughter, Rachel, chose Gram’s colander and wants to learn how to make Gram’s applesauce. My nephew, Bill, chose a silly, plastic, cartoonish statue with a saying on it about fishermen. He said it reminded him of Papa. Of course, they chose somethings of more value. But it was those items that amused me.

The time spent with those three “next-generation” adults was precious to me. There was no arguing over the more valuable items. They exemplified Paul’s instructions in Philippians 2:1-4.

But for me, I had the honor to say, “Here is your inheritance. Pick whatever you want as a token and memory of Gram and Papa’s love for you.” Each one came with items, “Can I have this?” With the exception of a few things that were promised to someone else, I replied, “Yes. Take it.” It delighted me to grant their wishes and to see the delight in their faces as they packed up their treasures.

As I reflected on this process the other day, I realized a deeper meaning … a foreshadowing if you will. It is our privilege, as Christians, to do the same thing with people we witness to. We have the keys to open heavens gates to fellow believers and non-believers and say look at your inheritance. It’s yours for the taking. Come. Receive. Drink. Eat. Embrace the love of God. Cherish it is as the great treasure it is from the Father who loves you with an everlasting love. Keep it in your heart. Display it for all the world to see. It’s yours. It’s mine. There is more than enough for everyone. His house is abundant with treasures and always shall be.

How about you? How have you found joy in sorrow?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

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A is for Almighty

But there is [a vital force] a spirit [of intelligence] in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives men understanding. (Job 32:8 Amp)

Some of my writer friends are doing an alphabet challenge. I thought it would be interesting to join them with an alphabet names/references to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

Almighty God is He

Almighty God is He

Almighty God…the above verse says it all. Without the breath of the Almighty humans would be just like all other life forms without intelligence, understanding, or wisdom. Think about our power to reason and to create. Our understanding of morals and justice outranks all other animals. Our sense of decency has to come from a higher power—from Almighty God. He created us in His image and breathed the breath of life into us after He created all other life forms that were living and breathing. So the breath of life must mean something beyond inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon monoxide, right?

Almighty God granted humans the breath of life as a gift for eternity, and we became living souls without end. Souls with the ability to pick and choose our futures.

Almighty God’s love endures forever and He desires our allegiance, our love, and our fellowship.

How about you? What are some God references that come to mind using the letter A? Add yours in the comments below.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Suspended by Grace

This video is dedicated to my sister, Janie Neff Haines and her husband Gene Haines as a memorial to their son, Clint who was killed in a tragic motor cycle accident September 2013. May God’s sustaining grace continue to carry you forward into His everlasting presence.

With much love, Brenda

[youtube http://youtu.be/O5QErV44sRY]

 

Suspended by Grace

The brightness of the day succumbed to angry storm clouds. I scarcely noticed them. The turmoil bellowing within my soul created a far greater threat, shoving me to the very edge of destruction.

Stones shifted beneath my feet. I teetered, arms flailing to regain my balance. The crackling of debris cascading down the side of the cliff echoed through the valley. Several rocks crashed on the wall before splashing in the raging sea below. Was that to be my fate after all?

A scream … a cry of despair drew my attention eastward. At first one, then several close relatives slipped over the edge and plummeted toward the crag that stuck out of the icy water. “No!” I screamed with them. I stood paralyzed on the edge unable to do anything more than pray. I wanted to rescue them, to throw out a lifeline … something to prevent the inevitable. But I had no rope, no vine, no means of aide. Their screams tightened into shrieks and sobs … then silence. Their anguish-filled hearts impregnated the atmosphere with inaudible songs of grief.

Yet, instead of crashing into the sea, they floated above it as if suspended from parachutes. They rose and drifted farther eastward toward the sun. In the far distance, a beautiful city graced the horizon.

I suspected the refugees didn’t realize God’s grace had sustained them, not at first at least. But inch-by-inch they rose upward and eastward into the brilliance of His presence. As they live out the remainder of their lives, they radiate with an inner strength, of which they seem unaware.

I, also, suspected then, as I do now, that eventually I too will slip over the edge of despair. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I can trust Him in the darkest night, in the midst of the storm, in the depths of despair. He will keep His word. By the testimony of my friends and family who have lived through the horrors of this world, I see Jesus’ sustaining grace. And I know the breath of God will lift me up and propel me into His Light and eventually into His everlasting presence.

Thank you for viewing. Please share.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Perfect Gift

I know you received this a few hours ago. But I discovered there was no sound to the first one. Sorry about that.

This is the final product of the project I’ve been sharing with you since the beginning of December. I hope it blessed you. I sure enjoyed creating it. It now hangs in my mother’s living room. She was delighted to receive it for her 87th birthday.

Next week, I’ll share another art video pertaining to God’s grace. In preparation, study Ephesians 2:1-10.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Life

Advent 2014

Day 26

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 b  KJV)

Abundant LifeA few days ago, I found myself sitting in the social security office. Unbelievable! I’m at retirement age. How’d that happen?

Reflecting on my life, it seems to have been filled with a lot of insignificant activities in comparison to what others have accomplished. My life is filled with unattained aspirations, fading dreams, and just plain failures. But Jesus promised to give me life … and that in abundance.

So where is my abundant life? While I have had my share of disappointments, I’ve also enjoyed many of life’s pleasures—an adoring husband, beautiful daughters, marvelous grandactives, a comfortable home, and always enough to eat. If you want to get a little more philosophical, I take great delight in my surroundings—the wonder of the sky, the glory of the mountains, and soothing chirps of birds singing in the morning. I am blessed indeed. But is any of this the abundant life of which Jesus spoke?

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Next we’ll peek inside the gift of Light via an art video, which wraps up the past four messages. Prepare by reading and studying John 8:12.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Amazement

Advent 2014

Day 25

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. (John 20:18)

Amazing NewsSeveral years ago, my mother, my daughter, and I took a bus trip to New York City during the Christmas season. The window dressings, the lights and decorations in Time Square, and the show at Radio City Music Hall amazed this country bumpkin. But I don’t have to travel six hours on a bus to be awestruck by tinsel and bright lights. A drive around the towns in our area, gawking at the homes all decked out for the holidays strikes the same chords of wonder and amazement within my heart.

However grand the most extravagant, man-made decorations are they cannot compare to the brilliant display of angels the shepherds saw the night of Jesus’ birth.

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Next, we’ll look at the gift of life. Prepare by reading and meditating on John 3:13-18.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Perseverance

Advent 2014

Day 24

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

During my darkest hours of oppression, I learned the meaning of perseverance. Through my thoughts, the enemy tore at the very core of my faith, my purpose, and my self-worth. At first, I had no control over the negative input. He hammered me continuously with all the wrong I’d done throughout my life. He told me I was unlovable and worthless. But somehow within that flood of lies, the Lord spoke the truth. He said He loved me with an everlasting love; with loving kindness He had drawn me to Him (Jeremiah 31:3). The Lord said He had plans for me and would give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He told me the truth would set me free (John 8:32). And it did. However …

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Tomorrow, we’ll consider the gift of amazement. Prepare by reading and meditating on John 20:11-18.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks