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When God Puts Us in Time Out

 

When my daughters became annoyingly overactive, it told me they needed rest … a nap … TIMEOUT. Or maybe I’m the one who needed the break. Regardless, the correction slowed them down, gave them a new perspective on their surroundings, and usually, offered time to come up with a quieter or more productive activity.

Come sit on my deck and enjoy the weather.

As adults, we become overactive with life, rushing here and there, always busy doing, never resting. Occasionally, the Lord says, “Enough. I’m putting you in timeout.” At least that’s how it feels on snowy days like today. The most of Central Pennsylvania has come to a halt. Schools are cancelled. Businesses are shutdown. Few cars are on the road. It’s so quiet. We have time to think, time to reevaluate our lives, time to commune with our Creator. Sometimes, He just wants us to stop and reflect on His goodness.

When the roads are cleared, it’s business as usual. But we feel refreshed, ready to face the hectic life we’ve grown accustomed to. And we realize how much we needed to listen to our Father, to set at His feet and be comforted … to be still and know that He is God (Psalms 46:10).

How about you? How has the storm affected you?

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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 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

 

Enough with the Surprises Already (Part 2)

Let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. (Romans 5:3-4 AMP)

Bear with Me

Gene and I enjoy the cabin for different reasons.

He goes to work. He mows in the summer and shovels snow in the winter. He tinkers with maintenance jobs. But mostly, he either hunts or checks his trail cams depending of the time of year. Regardless, he spends a good part of his time traipsing around in thigh-high brush, searching for signs of deer and bear, and breathing the fresh mountain air.

This trip appears no different. He departs from the cabin about 5:00 a.m., leaving Hunter and me still sound asleep.

I awake about two hours later, pour myself a cup of coffee, and start typing away, content to have the cabin to myself.

Hunter raises an eyebrow, nestles deeper into the couch, and dreams on.

I finish my synopsis about 9:15 as the truck roars in the lane. Hunter jumps off the couch and, in anticipation of his favorite human’s entrance, stands at the door, trying desperately to wag his crooked, stubby tail.

Gene enters all grins and hands me the cards from his trail cams. “I got some beautiful pictures. We’ll look at them after breakfast.”

I follow him to the door.

He steps outside and says, “Oh my word!”

I step out and gasp, not once, but twice. Once for each flat tire on the passenger’s side of the truck. We quietly proceed around the other side and breathe a sigh of relief. Two flat tires are enough for one trip.

Gene stands in front of the truck, moves slowly around it, accessing and obviously praying.

I stand to the side and pray.

Everyone in the other cabins has gone on a four-wheeler trail ride. Gene walks up the road to the landowner’s house. He returns in another truck and explains the landowner’s wife is willing to take us to the garage to get tires. He wants me to go along—so much for writing.

If you’ve ever been in northern PA, you know the towns are few and far between, and businesses are even more scarce.

About 30 minutes or so later, we arrive at the garage. Gene discusses the options and decides to get four new tires since the dealer gives us a good bargain. Plus, we need new tires anyway, no sense in buying used then coming home and buying new.

We get back to the cabin about 1:40. Gene changes the tires and makes supper. Who needs breakfast? Nevertheless, Gene passes his test on patience with flying colors.

By bedtime, I complete my synopsis, a Bible study lesson I’m writing, and half of the bear painting above.

All is well, until around 2:00 a.m. when Hunter barks and growls at something outside. I’ll tell you about that next time.

How about you? How have you managed your latest surprise?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Speak with Grace

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)

Niagara Falls 2Saturday, my husband and I went on a bus trip to Niagara Falls. It had been 42 years since our last visit. To say things had changed would be an understatement. Where small souvenir shops existed, casinos now breakup the horizon. Motels in the form of skyscrapers replace single-dwelling houses. Giant Ferris wheels and water slides occupy areas where trees once lived.

But one thing remained the same—the falls. It’s majesty, power, and breath-taking beauty stood in stark contrast to all the manmade hoopla. God’s creation never ceases to amaze and inspire me.

After riding the Maid of the Midst, Gene and I walked through the aquarium. The clerk said we had about 40 minutes to browse before it closed for the evening. I snapped pictures of most of the underwater creatures, taking a few minutes to admire the unique designs of each exhibit … seahorses, poisonous frogs, and lion fish to name a few. In the last tank, the nimble appendages of coral danced, entrancing any onlookers. One lady stood close to the tank, like a small child who had never seen such a performance, truly mesmerized by it.

coral 6I watched with her a moment then said, “I don’t know about you, but I believe God created all of this.”

A huge smile lit up her face. “Yes, I believe it too.”

“How anyone can observe such wonder and beauty and think it just happened is beyond me.”

The lady nodded in agreement then said to her husband sitting on a nearby bench, “Did you hear what she said?” He shook his head. She repeated our conversation with enthusiasm.

I don’t know why I talked to that lady. I don’t often speak to strangers. Let’s face it, I don’t often speak to people I know unless they speak to me first. Nevertheless, I felt an urge to express my joy of the Creator at that moment. It seemed to be something she needed to hear. And for a brief moment, the lady and I connected. Our hearts sang a spiritual song of praise to our Lord without the spoken word.

How about you? How has God used you to make a stranger’s heart sing?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Be Aware of the Giant Hoax

Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 AMP)

Giant Hoax

Giant Hoax

There’s a report floating around Facebook, claiming a group of archaeologists discovered the remains of giants in Greece, thus, proving the authenticity of the Bible. It even went so far as to say that one of the skulls they excavated could’ve been Goliath’s head. That particular skull was separate from the body and bore a crack between the eyes—obviously from David’s stone, according to the article.

At least one flag should’ve popped out at me—this dig occurred in Greece. David killed Goliath in Valley of Elah, which was in Judah not anywhere close to Greece. But no. I ignored that “tiny” piece of knowledge. In my zeal to prove the accuracy of the Bible, I reposted the news.

A day or two later, I decided to check out the creditability of the article on Snopes.com. In case you’ve never heard of the site, it’s designed to debunk rumors, myths, and legends and give us the facts. To my dismay, I discovered the giant-skeletal find was a hoax. Not only had I fallen for it. I caused others to fall for it as some of my Facebook friends reposted the spoof.

Ha-ha! The joke’s on us. These types of shenanigans make Christians look foolish in the eyes of the world. We owe it to ourselves and to our Lord to carefully investigate every article we post on social media and only post what’s true.

We also owe it to ourselves and to our Lord to carefully examine the teachings to which we adhere. Not all who claim to know the Word and preach it, study the Scriptures. Even our pastors and Sunday school teachers can falter in their understanding. We should hold one another accountable by studying the Bible and asking God for wisdom regarding His truth. When we fail to check the Scriptures to see if what we are being taught is true, we run the risk of spreading lies further diluting the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let’s show ourselves God-approved by examining the facts before repeating or reposting the spoof.

How about you? Have you ever reposted an article on social media that seems so terrific you had to share then found out later it was a hoax?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

P.S. To my Facebook friends who reposted the giant article, I sincerely apologize and pledge to be more careful to check out the facts before I repost.