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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

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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 Gift of Love

Advent 2014

Day 22

[youtube http://youtu.be/gH10eYfP9BY]

 

 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:12-13)

On His way to the cross, Jesus demonstrated the Father’s love and offered gifts along the way—gifts that keep on giving like forgiveness.

Affirming her gratitude for forgiveness, a sinful woman washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. She also anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume. Although her actions disturbed those present, they pleased Jesus. He said she had prepared Him for His burial and her deed would be told as a memorial to her for all time. Jesus gave the gift of forgiveness to us as well. We affirm our gratitude by forgiving others. It’s a gift that keeps on giving like the gift of obedience.

Obedience isn’t always easy, especially when it seems to lead to a difficult situation. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, He knew the road lead to His crucifixion. But He marched into the city with victory on His shoulders in obedience to the Father. Obedience is a gift that keeps on giving like the gift of authority.

Jesus exhibited His authority over sin and injustice the day He cleansed the temple. He also verified His authority over death a week later. He gave the gift of authority to His disciples and sent them out to spread the word of His appearing and to cast out demons. In turn, that gift has been passed down to every believer. Authority is a gift that keeps on giving like the gift of prayer.

Through prayer, Jesus knew and carried out the Father’s will. The Messiah encouraged His followers to pray often, especially on the night of His arrest. Jesus knew His fate. He needed time with the Father. He knew the fate of His disciples and their need for strength as the horrific events took place. He gave them the gift of prayer to help sustain them. And He offers the gift of prayer to each of us. Prayer is a gift that keeps on giving like the gift of surrender.

Surrender often implies defeat. But Jesus showed us it denotes love and can lead to victory. Had He not surrendered to the Roman soldiers that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, the prophecies concerning Him would not have been fulfilled. Jesus’ surrender was His greatest act of love. He had told His disciples that no man would take His life. Rather He laid down His life willingly in obedience to the Father who had given Jesus the authority to take it up again.

Jesus also said, “Greater love has no man than this: to lay down his life for a friend.” He called His followers His friends and gave us the ultimate gift of love—His life.

Love is a gift that keeps giving.

How about you? How can you offer the gift of love to someone today?

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the gift of defeat. Prepare by reading and meditating on John 11:1-14.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Sacrifice

Advent 2014

Day 21

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)

The Gift of Sacrifice

The Gift of Sacrifice

Sacrifice? What do I know about sacrifice? I’ve sacrificed designer jeans for Christmas presents for my daughters. But I’ve never sacrificed to the point of wearing thread-bare Levis. I’ve sacrificed dining at high-class restaurants. But I’ve never gone hungry. I’ve sacrificed traveling abroad. But I have enjoyed a few national parks.

What I’m trying to say is we often talk about sacrifices, but many of us have little clue what true sacrifice is. What have our sacrifices cost us?

Until we’ve given up the comforts of home to live in a third-world country so they can hear the gospel, our sacrifices haven’t cost us much. Until we’ve poured ourselves out on a daily basis ministering to the needs of others without expecting anything in return, we haven’t experienced sacrifice. Until we’ve suffered persecution, betrayal, and desertion because of our faith, we haven’t felt the anguish of sacrifice.

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Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at The Gift of Love. In review of this week’s meditations, I’ll post another art video. Prepare by reading and thinking about John 15:12-14

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

Don’t Save it All for Christmas

Twenty-seventh Day of Advent 2013

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV)

Love AbidesChristmas season is drawing to a close, and as I write this last post for Advent 2013, I’m reflecting on what makes the holidays so special. The gifts? The decorations? The food? Nah, they’ll all be forgotten in a short time…well with the exception of the food, perhaps, as we resolve to lose the weight we inevitably gained over the weeks between Thanksgiving and January 1st.

Maybe the family gatherings and social functions make Christmas time rise above all the other events during the year. But the preparation of these occasions often sends our stress levels over the edge.

No, there has to be an element to the yuletide that goes beyond or adds to all the gifts, decorations, food, and activities.

Read More and View Don’t Save it All for Christmas

Enjoy the sounds of Christmas as you prepare for Jesus’ Second Advent.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

We are the Reason

Eighteenth Day of Advent, 2013

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

Celebrating Life Eternal As I thought about doing the Advent blog this year, I decided to base each post on a Christmas song. I included contemporary, traditional, soloists, instrumental, dancers, hand mimes, adults, children, professional, and novice. Each night before bed, I prayed that God would awaken me with a song and a message for the day, which He has done graciously.

This morning, I woke with the song We are the Reason on my mind. Before starting my post, I opened my email. The first message I saw: Jesus is the Reason for the Season. I took that as confirmation for what I am to write today. The two statements go hand-in-hand.

Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas. It’s His birthday, right? We want to honor Him by remembering the miracles surrounding His birth. Drawing our attention back to that historical event reminds us of who He is, where He came from, and why He came.

Why He came…aah, the reason for the season.

Read More and View We are the Reason

Enjoy the sounds of Christmas as you prepare for Jesus’ Second Advent,

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Mary Did You Know?

Fourteenth Day of Advent 2013

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18 NIV)

 

In my opinion, nothing looks cleaner or more refreshing than a fresh blanket of snow. It covers the dead grass, adds crispness to bear tree limbs, and brightens the landscape.

What better metaphor to describe the redemption of a soul. Jesus’ blood, when claimed by sinners, covers our lifeless deeds, adds beauty to our barren dispositions, and brightens our outlooks on life. Jesus washes our sin-soiled souls, preparing us to meet God the Father. He, then, looks at us and sees nothing but Jesus’ righteousness covering us.

Read More and View Mary Did You Know?

Enjoy the sounds of Christmas as you prepare for Jesus’ Second Advent.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks