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Setting and Meeting Goals

I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)

July 14, 2018 marked a major milestone for me. I completed the Ta-Ta Trot, a 5K walk for breast cancer awareness. Three and a half miles may not seem like much to many of you. But considering I had to use a shower chair to take a shower and a motorized cart to do my shopping for the first 4 months of the year, a three and half mile walk was huge.

Last year, I had to forgo the event because I had a chemo treatment a few days prior. At that moment I determined my family would not participate again without me. So in April, I began training. My first attempt got me to the top of the hill one block away from my house. Everyday, Gene and I walked a little farther. When I was too stubborn to admitted my own limitations, he gently urged me to turn back. He was always right about how much strength I had. I was always glad he insisted we headed for home.

Every week, I set a longer goal. Eventually, we were walking a mile, then a mile and a half. One day when Gene was at a men’s breakfast, I took our dog, Hunter, for a two-and-a-half-mile walk. I felt accomplished. My confidence soared. I could do it. I could.

With only a month to go, I still hadn’t passed the two-and-a-half-mile marker. No matter how hard I pushed myself, that was the extent of my strength. Doubts began to seep into my fortitude. But we kept trying.

The week before the 5-K, Gene and I went to a nearby park with a path and mile markers. We walked three miles that day. What a boost. At that point, I knew I could do it.

I can’t begin to tell you the overwhelming sense of accomplishment I felt when I walked the last leg of the Ta-Ta Trot. It was one of the biggest events in my life. Yet, there was no fanfare, no cheers, no awards. No one noticed, except my family who walked with me. In fact, we were almost the last ones to cross the finish line.

I know I’ll never be the first one to cross the finish line of any sort of a race. That has never been one of my goals.

But there is a race in which I will receive a crown. That has been and always will be my greatest goal—to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

How about you? What have you completed that has given you a sense of accomplishment?

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks

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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 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

The Gift of Grace

Advent 2014

Day 15

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Jesus became God’s gift of grace and the gift that keeps on giving.

1.  The Gift of Submission

Although He never sinned, Jesus submitted to John the Baptist to be baptized. In doing so, Jesus identified with sinners and demonstrated complete surrender to the Father.

2.  The Gift of Humility

Although He had much work to do, Jesus welcomed small children.  He said adults must become humble as a child if they want to enter heaven. Children lose themselves in the moment. They act without hesitation. They accept the wonder of the miracles surrounding Jesus’ birth without trying to overthink. They understand with their hearts

3.  The Gift of Compassion

Jesus showed compassion to the multitudes of sick, blind, deaf, and disabled people who constantly flogged Him. He turned no one away. He never rushed past someone in need. He took time to speak to them, to encourage them, and to meet their deepest needs—needs of the spirit as well as the body.

4.  The Gift of Satisfaction

The miracle of the two small fish and five loaves of barley teaches plenty about satisfaction

  1. When we look to God for sustenance with grateful hearts, He supplies more than enough
  2. His provisions come from unexpected sources
  3. Jesus can do great things with small things
  4. Jesus will NOT send anyone away who diligently seeks Him
  5. Jesus supplies an abundance so that we have “leftovers” to share

5.  The Gift of Trust

Trust is one of the most delicate gifts we can give to another person. It breaks easily and must be handled with extreme care. But when we put our trust in Jesus, we need not worry about Him ever breaking it. Here are a few things we learn from Peter’s experience:

  1.  Focus on Jesus, and He’ll enable us to do the impossible
  2. Focus on our circumstances, and they’ll overpower us every time
  3. Prayers don’t have to be lengthy or complex
  4. Even when our faith fails, Jesus is there to help
  5. No matter how severe the storm, Jesus is always in control.

6.  The Gift of His Presence

Jesus’ presence is God’s gift to each of us. Many get caught up in the wrappings—His glorious birth, the miracles, signs, and wonders He performed, the ideal of living a life full of peace, joy, and love. And God’s gift of grace through Jesus is all of that and more. But His presence brings with it His holiness, which cannot tolerate sin. Therefore, we stand convicted. Our guilt pushes the gift away. Instead of immersing ourselves in it, we hide from it unwilling to open the package in its entirety.

Let’s not return the gift unopened this year. Let’s unwrap it and experience the true miracle of Christmas—God’s grace, mercy, and love through Jesus Christ.

How about you? Have you opened God’s gift of grace?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

 

 

 

The Gift of Satisfaction

Advent 2014

Day 12

They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. (Matthew 14:20)

???????????????????????????????At our house after all the hoopla of presents, pastries, and people settle down for the day, we have one more gift to present.

My husband started this tradition years ago. He personally picked and wrapped the gift. The tag read: for the one who didn’t get enough. You’d think no one would claim such a gift. Who’d have the nerve to admit she didn’t receive enough? But inevitably, one of our daughters would grab the extra present. Ah, but my husband was smart. He always bought something to be shared with the entire family like a box of candy or a game.

Sharing a box of candy or a game with a small family isn’t very difficult. But sharing a small lunch with 5000 hungry men plus women and children is quite another story.

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Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the Gift of Trust. Prepare by reading and meditating on John 6:16-24

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

The Skeptical Shepherd Part 2

Advent 2014

Day 7

Luz and Kasiff sat up straight with mouths agape. I swallowed hard and shivered, but not from the cold. My heart stopped. Run! Run, hide, save yourself. I tried to scream, but sat frozen to the ground.

A Multitude of Heavenly HostsWas I now hearing things as well? A voice of sheer ecstasy echoed through the hillside. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” ¹

Then the sky lit up as though the noonday sun shone. I flung my arm across my forehead to shield my eyes from the splendor. Countless angels joined the first one in a breathtaking song …

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Tomorrow, we’ll recap the past week’s meditations via an art video.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda

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