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Proactive: Partners with God

When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,  And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. (John 9:6-7)

I apologize for my lack of contributing to this blog.

Since my last post, I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer. The first diagnosis was difficult enough to hear. But then, it got worse. A pet scan showed the cancer had passed through my lymph nodes (our filtering system) into my blood stream. From there it invaded my lungs. The spots are small, which means it’s treatable and controllable.

I began chemo May 2.

Needless to say, a lot of emotions have been boiling up in our house. But God is faithful and is with me every step of the way.

When the doctor told me the biopsy tested positive for cancer in my lymph nodes, he said “it was a miracle they even found it. It never would’ve shown up on a routine mammogram.” Which I’ve had every year for the past fifteen years, by the way. My first thought was God has a plan.

He has surrounded me with a “cloud of witnesses” in every doctor’s office I’ve visited thus far, as He compels me forward through chemo treatments. Many believers ask why I’m going through medical treatments when God has the power to heal. Yes, I believe with all my heart that God could heal me immediately without an oncologist’s intervention. But which takes more faith to believe God can when He does? Or to still believe He can even when He doesn’t?

I’m not a super-saint by anyone’s standards. I’m simply trusting my Father to do what is best for me and what will bring Him the most glory. While I prayed about this, He showed me something quite amazing. During His earthly ministry, Jesus did not heal everyone who asked immediately. He told ten lepers to go and do whatever the law required. As they walked away in faith, they were healed (Luke 17:11-14). Similarly, Jesus made a mudpack, smeared it on a blind man’s eyes, and told him to go wash at the pool of Siloam. The man obeyed in faith and returned seeing (John 9:6-7).

Jesus wants us to be proactive in our healings and every other aspect of our lives. Yes, He can do all things. And He does them well. But He, more often than not, expects us to take an active part in His work within us. So I go to the center for my treatments. I try to follow the doctor’s advice. I even signed up for a Look Good, Feel Better class next month. But more than anything, I’m following Jesus’ instructions and trusting Him to heal my body, to strengthen my faith, and to hold me close when I’m overwhelmed with the process.

How about you? How are you actively participating in the Father’s work in your life?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

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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

 

Advent 2016 Day 8

“Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer.” (Ruth 4:14)

Read: Ruth 3:1-11; 4:9-10

Jesus Loves Even Me

Jesus Loves Even Me

After the death of her husband, Ruth decided to leave her home and family to follow her mother-in-law, Naomi, also widowed, back to Bethlehem. With no men to take care of them, Naomi sent Ruth to glean what she could from a relative’s field as was the custom of the culture. Ruth did as she was told and soon gained the attention of the field’s owner , Boaz. He made daily provisions for the widows, indicating his interest in Ruth.

Again, Naomi instructed Ruth in the Israelite customs, telling her to go to Boaz at night and sleep at his feet. Boaz knew Ruth was asking him to be her guardian-redeemer and agreed to settle the matter in the morning. Becoming Ruth’s guardian-redeemer meant Boaz agreed to buy Naomi’s deceased husband’s property and marry Ruth. Thus, Boaz committed to taking care of and providing for both Naomi and Ruth for life.

In comparison, Jesus is our guardian-redeemer. He has redeemed us and calls us His own. In Him, we have all we need for this life and for eternity.

Today, let’s find ways to honor our guardian-redeemer.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

 

Advent 2016 Day 7

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

Read: Deuteronomy 5:1-22

x-defaultMoses, another “type” of Christ, delivered the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery. Those who believed Moses obeyed his command to slaughter a lamb, wipe it’s blood on their doorposts, and prepare to flee. The blood of the lamb saved their households from the death angel. Moses, through the guidance of the Lord, lead the Hebrews to the Promised Land but not without mishaps. The Hebrews were a rebellious people despite all the miracles they had experienced along the way.

During their exile, the Lord gave Moses the ten commandments. He instructed the people to “write God’s laws on their hearts and live by them so they would not sin against God.” However, it’s impossible for anyone to obey all ten commandments consistently.

That’s why Jesus came. Similar to Moses, Jesus delivers us from the bondage of sin. Applying His blood to our hearts saves our spirits from what the Bible terms the second death. The physical death we must all pass through. But the second death separates unbelievers from the presence of God for eternity.

When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice, He sends His spirit to dwell within us, enabling us to keep God’s laws more consistently. Yes, we still slip at times. But the Holy Spirit is right there beside us, convicting us and helping us to seek forgiveness.

Today, let’s rejoice in knowing Jesus paid the price for our sins and has given us His spirit to help us live a life pleasing to God.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Advent 2016 Day 5

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:15)

Read: Genesis 28:10-22

Angel 1 4 webWhile Jacob slept, he dreamed of angels ascending and descending on a ladder that reached to heaven. God spoke to him, giving him a promise of prosperity and many descendants.

This promise God gave to a man who deceived his father and robbed his twin brother of his inheritance. Jacob had to flee for his life. He had the dream while on his way to Paddan Aram.

There, Jacob took up residence with his mother’s brother Laban. Jacob immediately fell in love with Laban’s daughter Rachel and agreed to work seven years for her to become his wife. However, Laban was a ruthless man, besides it was a disgrace to marry a younger daughter off before the elder according to their customs. So Laban “pulled the wool” over Jacob’s eyes. Poor Jacob got a taste of his own medicine when his bride removed her veil, revealing her identity as Leah, Rachel’s older sister. Although perplexed, Jacob agreed to work seven more years to earn the love of his life. Laban had more schemes up his sleeve to keep Jacob employed for several more years. You see, Laban realized his herds increased because of God’s blessing on Jacob.

Two lessons pop out with Jacob’s life story:

  1. We reap what we sow. Jacob dealt dishonestly and ruthlessly with his brother and father. God taught Jacob a life lesson through Laban’s ruthless behavior. We often get back 10 fold what we hand out to others. God chastises those He loves for the same reasons we punish our children — to build character, compassion, and a sense of fairness.
  2. God keeps His promises in unexpected ways. While Jacob worked for Laban, God prospered both men, but He prospered Jacob more. During this time, the Lord not only taught Jacob valuable lessons in compassion and fairness, but He prepared Jacob to return to the promised land with great wealth.

God always keeps His promises, and very often, He does so in unexpected ways. The Jews believed God would send a deliverer at the time of their persecution during the Roman empire. They just didn’t expect Him to come in manner in which He did.

Today, look for and expect to find surprising answers to your prayers.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

Advent 2016 Day 4

“God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together. (Genesis 22:8)

Read: Genesis 22:1-14

God’s Provision

Every time I read the account of Abraham preparing to sacrifice Isaac, I wonder if I’d be as obedient and as trusting as Abraham was. He took the promised son to the altar as an offering to God. But in his heart, Abraham believed even if he’d slay Isaac, the Lord would bring him back to life. He trusted God for the promise. And he trusted God to provide all that was needed to hold that promise in place.

God met Abraham’s expectations and provided the necessary ram for the burnt offering. He has also provided the necessary atonement for our sins through Jesus Christ.

We can trust Him to meet our needs far beyond our expectations.

How about you? How has God met your needs today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

Continue on the Path

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. (Hebrews 12:11 – 13 NIV)

fall-path-4-webDuring a painting session with my daughter, we worked on fall paintings in practice for an art party I had planned. Rachel, recuperating from surgery, enjoyed the calmness of the experience and worked diligently for two hours. Her energy spent, we called it a day and signed our “masterpieces.” Hers looked great.

Mine not so much. I lugged it home and analyzed it for several days. With the art party growing closer, I had to figure out what annoyed me so much with the painting and “get it right.” Gene pointed out that all my trees were basically the same size and color. I watched videos on YouTube. Studying the experts’ methods helped me determine what I had done wrong. I took Gene’s advice and varied the size and color of the trees. I incorporated some of the experts’ methods. I worked over five more hours on this painting until I was satisfied. Now, I’m ready to tackle another similar painting in preparation for the art party. And I’ve learned a valuable lesson—rushing through artwork can cost you a lot of time.

Rushing through life costs a lot of precious time as well. I think I know what I want to accomplish and how to achieve my goals. I rush in without much thought and even fewer plans. I fail. Then, I spend time researching the outcome. I seek advice from knowledgeable people. I even consult the Bible for answers from God. I work on fixing the problem, which now takes three times as long as it would’ve had I taken the time to do all those things before I messed up.

Ah, but all these things are part of the discipline our Father teaches us. No, it doesn’t feel good. In fact, repeating processes hurts. But God is at work in us, teaching us to turn to Him first. He’s producing righteousness and peace within us. He’s making our paths straight so we don’t stumble the next time or maybe the time after that. But eventually, we get it. Our wimpy arms and our shaky legs grow strong. And He places us on a path where we can reach out to others, teach them His ways, and encourage them to continue on course.

How about you? What discipline is the Father using in your life to strengthen you and to make your path straight?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks